Mike Mabuyakhulu, the convener of the ANC’s provincial interim committee (PIC) in KwaZulu-Natal, has called for an investigation into the circumstances that led to the consultative meeting of the party’s Moses Mabhida region descending into chaos, including shooting, between warring factions on Monday evening.

The meeting, held in Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, was held to assess the region’s readiness to send delegates to the proposed provincial elective conference, that has yet to be scheduled.

In January, the ANC national executive committee suspended the provincial executive committee (PEC) after the court nullified the November 2015 provincial elective conference.

A PIC was appointed, headed by Mabuyakhulu and Sihle Zikalala as co-ordinator. The PIC was tasked with creating a roadmap that would prepare ANC structures in the province for a fresh provincial elective conference within three months.

Dozens of disgruntled ANC supporters who claimed to have been prevented from participating in ANC elections on the belief that they opposed the faction that wanted Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed her former husband as the president of the ANC, descended on the Howick meeting venue. They demanded that their membership be restored and that they be allowed to participate in the ANC’s branch elections and other activities.

Despite the appointment of the PIC, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is still largely divided into two factions, one supporting Ramaphosa and the other supporting Dlamini-Zuma and the former president.

Apparently the pro-Ramaphosa supporters tried to enter the meeting to tell members of the ANC’s national working committee (NWC) — who were present — about their marginalisation from party structures.

But they were prevented from doing so by security personnel tied to several local mayors. A few rounds of gunfire were heard as the crowd tried to gatecrash the meeting.

Police were called to the scene to prevent the situation from descending further into chaos.

The incident heightened speculation that some ANC leaders in the province were planning to undermine Ramaphosa as part of their strategy to prop up and defend Zuma, as he faces myriad charges.

Mabuyakhulu said on Tuesday the Howick incident painted the organisation in a very bad light. He said both the police the NEC must investigate the incident and bring to book those responsible.

"The minister of police has already spoken to us as the leadership about the incident and we have indicated to him that we would welcome a full investigation into this matter. He also said he would like to see the police to investigate this matter. The ANC should also investigate what really happened there, None of us has a right to undermine the rule of law," he said.

He added: "We don’t know anything about people who are said to be planning to undermine the ANC leadership under president Cyril Ramaphosa that was elected in Nasrec. The ANC is one and there is no ANC yase Natali, which is planning succession. We don’t want to talk about that because we don’t know anything about it.

Mabuyakhulu said last weekend that the PIC had resolved that it would not be possible to hold regional or provincial elective conference in April — in line with a directive of the NEC — and that PIC would recommend that these conferences be held later in 2018 or after the 2019 general elections.