ANC supporters of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe believe Zuma's supporters are planning a purge during the ANC's national conference next week.
The pro-Jacob Zuma forces apparently want a resolution to disband the provincial executive committees in Limpopo and North West as well as the national executive committee of the ANC Youth League, the Mail & Guardian has learnt.
It has also emerged that the Zuma group want the president to fire Tokyo Sexwale, human settlements minister, Fikile Mbalula, sports minister, Paul Mashatile, arts and culture minister, Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale and North West Premier Thandi Modise. The group also wants the mayors of Johannesburg and Tshwane, Parks Tau and Kgosientso Ramokgopa, to be removed from their positions for campaigning against the president.
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Zuma, who is almost certain to be re-elected ANC president at the conference, is expected to reshuffle his Cabinet early next year. Some Zuma supporters also want Motlanthe to be replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa. He was nominated by the majority of the branches as deputy president after Motlanthe rejected the offer by Zuma supporters that he would be retained in the position if he did not stand against Zuma.
With less than 16 months left before the country's national elections, Zuma supporters say disbanding the provincial executive committees in Limpopo and North West will bring stability and unity to the organisation.
A provincial leader said: "We need united ANC structures ahead of the general elections to run a successful election campaign. The problem with the two provincial executive committees is that there are clearly two factions within them. Leadership itself is divided.
"You don't have a stable ANC that will drive a successful election strategy. We need a clear election strategy that will see the ANC regain its two-thirds majority."
Regarding the youth league, the leader said the plan was to disband its national executive committee and appoint an interim leadership with a clear mandate to organise an elective conference early next year.