ANC veterans, who have expressed concern about the state of the governing party, are adamant a national consultative conference must be held before the June policy conference.

The ANC national executive committee (NEC) resolved late last year to extend the policy conference to allow for a two-day consultative conference.

Rev Frank Chikane said this decision was not communicated to the veterans.

The veterans would return to Luthuli House on Monday to continue talks on this with the ANC’s top six leaders.

"Our position is more about having the national consultative conference earlier … because it must influence processes, even leading up to the policy conference," he said.

The veterans have said they will preside over the consultative conference, which will "reflect on all aspects of the state of the organisation" and where the ANC will discuss the "election of credible leaders — free of blemishes, factionalism and corruption".

The stalwarts said it was not about leadership, but about fixing the organisation.

This comes as the ANC tries to quash public discussions about succession or endorsements of preferred leaders ahead of the elective conference in December.

The party has chastised the ANC Women’s League for endorsing outgoing African Union commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and union federation Cosatu for throwing its support behind Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Another ANC veteran, Sydney Mufamadi, said party members needed to remember there were more important things than attending events with the single purpose of voting for leaders.

"People need to realise there is more at stake than deciding who should be president. There are issues more important than auditioning for leadership," he said.

Chikane echoed this, saying the veterans’ call for a change in the ANC’s trajectory was not a call for change in the direction of a specific faction.

"Leaders must not be elected to pursue interests of factions who elect them, but the interest of people," he said.

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