ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu. CREDIT: File photo

The ruling party also admitted that challenges and divisions within the ANC and the broader democratic movement had opened up a “window of opportunity for local and global opponents of the ANC to attack the organisation”.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu made the remark during a media briefing in Joburg yesterday, where he presented a discussion document on “communications and the battle of ideas”, ahead of the ANC’s national policy conference in June.

He criticised the media in general, and newspapers specifically, saying it hardly recognised any achievements on the country’s socio-economic front.

It was the print media that set the news agenda, said Mthembu, calling for it to be “more objective”.

“You don’t reflect on any positive things that we do They [media] say, why should you praise a fish for swimming,” he said.

The discussion document identified the media as “a site of struggle”, and the ANC elective conference in December, where President Jacob Zuma would step down as ANC leader, would take place against a backdrop of “a hostile media environment”.

Following a major cabinet reshuffle on Friday, when five ministers and deputies were fired, there were increasing cries for Zuma to step down.

When asked what message he would give South Africans over the matter, Mthembu said: “With the crisis facing us today, the ANC leadership will be able to deal with these issues and give leadership. That’s what people of South Africa expect.”