The ANC is not happy with a recent survey that measures the popularity of politicians among South Africans.
The South African Citizens Survey (SACS), conducted by research company Citizen Surveys, found that President Cyril Ramaphosa enjoys the highest approval rating at 62% in the last quarter.
This is a significant rise from 55% in the fourth quarter of 2018, and just two percentage points lower than the president's highest approval rating of 64% at the height of "Ramaphoria" in the second quarter of 2018.
However, other ANC leaders didn't fare as well as Ramaphosa.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni enjoyed the second-highest favourability rating of 35% in June, which subsequently dropped in July to 29%.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan's favourability dropped from 31% in June, to a low of 26% in July.
Gordhan is still, however, favoured higher than Deputy President David Mabuza, whose favourability also fell by five percentage points from 26% in June to 21% in July.
At the bottom of the pile is beleaguered ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, who has the lowest favourability among the ANC top brass, having declined from 16% in June, to a mere 11% in July.
'Not a popularity contest'
"The ANC rejects, with the contempt it deserves, the latest South African citizens survey which purports to be a favourability rating instrument of political leaders - a notorious ploy to cast leaders they dislike in a negative light," ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement.
"The research appears to have some ulterior motives of lending credence to a known agenda of abusing experimentation for sheer academic credence and peddling of lies with divisive intentions."
Mabe said the research was nothing but an "insult to the intelligence of all peace-loving South Africans who despise hatred and embrace love for one another regardless of race, gender, creed and ideology".
"The people of South Africa must unite and expose such formations hellbent on tarnishing the good image of our individual leaders hiding behind science."
According to Pule, the ANC was founded on the values of humility and would work tirelessly to pursue this virtue for the good of all without fail.
"The iconic Freedom Charter of 1955 spoke of South Africa belonging to all who live in it - black and white - therefore a study on 'hate' for others cannot be part of the South Africa we all want."
On Wednesday, a newspaper headline claimed that nine out of ten South Africans "hated" Magashule, based on the survey.
"This latest salvo is also an attempt to isolate ANC secretary general, Comrade Ace Magashule, and further cast imaginary doubt on his abilities.
"The secretary general of the ANC is part of the leadership collective as elected at the 54th National Conference and not in any popularity contest. Our renewal and unity project demands that we all stay vigilant against wedge-drivers," Pule said.
The survey also found that EFF leader Julius Malema is now less popular among South Africans than former president Jacob Zuma was when he left office.
Approval ratings for DA leader Mmusi Maimane have remained steady, albeit at 28% over the last two quarters surveyed.
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