“In the spirit of combating slate politics and factionalism, a significant number of comrades have proposed that we find a mature and sound way of politically managing possible contestation of leadership positions especially in the run-up to the 54th National Conference [in December],” Zuma said at the 5th national policy conference in Johannesburg.

“The experiences of the last two national conferences have taught us that the factionally driven ‘winner takes all’ attitude is not in the best interest of the ANC.

“It is worth repeating what I said during the opening remarks to this conference that our movement has lost many talented and capable comrades in whom it invested significantly due to slate politics, a terrible manifestation of perennial factionalism.”

Zuma said the ANC has to find and introduce campaign mechanism which will not have members “lobbying as if there is no tomorrow”.

“One of these is to build consensus in the structures of the ANC that candidates contesting for official positions should feature in the leadership collective even if they lose.

“As a practical measure to put an end to the entrenched practice of slate politics and factionalism, branches should consider a proposal to have a second deputy president so as to include the candidate who obtained the second highest votes in the contest for the position of president,” Zuma says.

He said there is “consensus” within the ANC that the governing party can no longer afford to totally reject leaders who were preferred by a significant number of members to lead.