ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu denied reports on Thursday that the second transition proposal had been rejected by most provinces during the party's policy conference in Midrand.
"We will not even talk about it [reports] because it is just nonsense. All that we know is that people might be saying 'why don't we use another name', but the concept of what we need to do is most welcomed [by delegates]," he said on the sidelines of the conference on Thursday.
"Again, the media really likes to sensationalise, because... we are all saying that there needs to be a drastic decision to move away from the status quo. We are in agreement, but as to what we call that is neither here nor there."
He said it was pre-emptive for unnamed sources to guess what the commissions might report back on regarding policy debates.
"Not all of them have reported, so it will be wrong for anybody to say that there is this view [on the second transition].
"There must be some people with other agendas, who are throwing all these unfounded allegations in the media. Now the media in this instance also becomes a useful fool."
Business Day newspaper reported on Thursday that the rejection was a "setback for Zuma", but Mthembu questioned the media's interpretation.
He told SAfm that several media had suggested that "this shows a rejection of the president before Mangaung", referring to the ANC's elective conference to be held in Mangaung, in the Free State, in December.
"How does that come in?" asked Mthembu.
He said the second transition proposal was not Zuma's proposal, but was an ANC discussion document.
Business Day reported that "virtually all commissions" had rejected the second transition discussion document as theoretically poor.
According to unattributed notes quoted in the newspaper, delegates wrote: "While the reasons behind reference to a second transition were understandable, the concept is inappropriate, and does not convey the movement's theorisation of the process of social transformation".
The Star newspaper quoted ANC national executive committee members as saying all commissions at the conference had rejected the second transition proposal.
Beeld newspaper quoted Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi as saying he felt people's opposition to the second transition was "justified".
"Everybody is talking about the second transition. Some people are opposed to it, which in my opinion is completely justified. But it's of crucial importance for us to emerge from this conference with a radical policy change," he told the Afrikaans daily newspaper.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is also believed to oppose the idea of a second transition.
A document on the second transition is one of the ANC's 13 policy documents under discussion at the four-day conference.
Zuma said in opening the conference on Tuesday that the second transition would make the country a "true democratic developmental state... which has a number of instruments it can use to facilitate change".
The first transition was still important because it had ushered in an era of democracy in South Africa.
"The time has come to do something more drastic to accelerate change towards economic transformation and freedom."
Zuma asked delegates to discuss the notion of a second transition when dealing with the strategy and tactics document.
"It is time to ask questions about the present and future... the last 18 years was the first transition. We are calling for a dramatic shift... to deal with the triple challenge[s] of poverty, unemployment and inequality," he said.