Phosa: Debates don't mean disunity
Johannesburg - Debating issues does not mean that the ANC's leadership is not united, its treasurer general Mathews Phosa said on Wednesday.
"I don't think anything suggests that there is no unity," Phosa said during an interview on SAfm.
"There are no divisions. It's a debate... We are not robots or zombies."
Phosa was talking after the ANC's leaders held a press briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The briefing was said to be a show of solidarity by the party's heavyweights over verbal attacks launched against its president Jacob Zuma.
"We needed to talk as a collective," said Phosa.
On Friday, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, who was speaking at a centenary lecture at the University of the Witwatersrand, said Zuma was a dictator and that he was suppressing the league.
Malema was sharing the stage with Phosa, who also addressed university students.
Asked on Wednesday if he considered Malema's comments as an insult, Phosa said it was wrong for leaders to take part in public spats.
"The masses are interested in bread and butter, not in public spats by leaders," he said, reiterating what he had said during his address at the university.
He said he would have taught the youth nothing if he had engaged in a tit-for-tat.
"We can't restrict the thinking of university students... As a country we must not be scared of new ideas."
Phosa said none of the ANC's leaders were above criticism.
He said the ANC would come down harder on those who violated the party's constitution.
"We've said publicly, enough is enough," he said.