Johannesburg - A heated debate is underway at the ANC's 5th National Policy Conference over "white monopoly capital".
On Tuesday, NEC member Joel Netshitenzhe released a report, which claimed that nine out of 11 commissions had rejected racially defining monopoly capital and labelling it as the enemy of the "national democratic revolution".
At least three sources inside plenary told News24 that secretary general Gwede Mantashe had told the conference plenary that mentioning the numbers was a mishap.
He told plenary that it was pitting comrades against each other and making them fight. He said it not meant to be communicated publicly.
Netshitenzhe told journalists that the relationship between the African National Congress and monopoly capital was one of unity, co-operation and contestation, as per a resolution adopted at the 2007 Polokwane elective conference.
Refusal to apologise
President Jacob Zuma's supporters rejected Netshitenzhe's report, saying it was not a true reflection of deliberations at the conference.
The matter was referred to the steering committee after it was raised by ANC Youth League secretary general Njabulo Nzuza.
Netshitenzhe was asked to apologise at plenary, but refused, insisting that what he had reported to the media briefing was factual.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala demanded that Netshitenzhe's refusal to apologise be referred to the conference steering committee. He accused some in the conference of not caring about the "unity and the stability" of the party.
He also insisted that Netshitenzhe report was not a true reflection of deliberations.
"If the steering committee is unable to meet before the end of this policy conference, I recommend that it refer it to the NEC [national executive committee]," Zikalala said.
The issue of white monopoly capital versus monopoly capital was referred back to the branches to discuss and will be concluded at the December national elective conference.
The topic was contentious ahead of the conference, with arguments being pushed along factional lines ahead of the presidential race.
Supporters of current deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa argued that monopoly capital had no colour, but Zuma's allies - and by extension, those of presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - want it to be racially defined.