Johannesburg - ANC presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu has dismissed reports of an "orchestrated dirty tricks campaign" that she questioned party secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s struggle credentials. "Comrade Lindiwe did not at any point make reference to former exiles and political prisoners when addressing her concerns on the posture of Comrade Gwede," her campaign team said in a statement released on Tuesday."Such utterances, as falsely attributed to her are inconsistent with her character, and conduct and do not reflect her views on the democratic practices within the ANC."Read moreMantashe disses 'royal' Sisulu as irrationalMthembu slams Sisulu as politically immature and disappointing In the statement, Sisulu also hit back at ANC parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu who slammed her reported comments as being "politically immature" and "disappointing". Sisulu said his comments were unwarranted as the media reports were inaccurate. "We also make a call to ANC Chief Whip, Comrade Jackson Mthembu, to exercise caution in the future if he is to publicly comment on matters pertaining to a member of the ANC caucus he leads," she said. According to media reports, Sisulu attacked Mantashe’s character, blamed him for divisions in the party and took issue with his comments endorsing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to replace President Jacob Zuma. Sisulu has defended that criticism of Mantashe: "Our view remains that Comrade Gwede’s choice of the candidate over others makes his position as the custodian of the elective conference untenable as his office is required to be impartial."Mantashe on Tuesday defended his comments about the deputy ascending to the presidency. No free for all"An organisation that is 105 years old must manage succession, we cannot have a free for all… I am raising it as a principled issue because if we don’t manage it [succession] there will be chaos," he said."If we are overlooking the deputy president we must explain to the party and society that these are his weaknesses, then the ANC will be at peace with itself."Sisulu said Mantashe's suggestion that no woman can lead the ANC were "incorrect and troubling". "It also reveals a deeply troubling patriarchal attitude which has no place in the office he holds, and particularly an organisation that has led society on the question of non-sexism,” the statement said.At least three women, including Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Baleka Mbete are contesting the party's top post.KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.- FOLLOW News24 on TwitterNews24 (@News24) | TwitterThe latest Tweets from News24 (@News24). News24 is Southern Africa and Africa's premier online news resource reaching over 2.3 million local users each month.