The African National Congress (ANC) says it is unaware of a plot to unseat president Cyril Ramaphosa by Jacob Zuma loyalists in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Sunday Times reported on Sunday that supporters of the former president are planning to undermine Ramaphosa ahead of next year's elections and ultimately have him removed.
Meanwhile, ANC working committee member and former KZN chairman Senzo Mchunu says he is aware of these rumours.
“I’m quite aware of the observations made by different people based on what people see, based on what they’re picking up on social media, people are beginning to ask themselves what is it that they’re hearing?
“What is it that they’re seeing, seeking assurance from whatever they can.”
But the ANC's Pule Mabe insists there is unity in the party.
“From where we’re sitting, we’re not aware of any plot like that and that the entirety of the organisation is united on the task that’s already been outlined to be the focus of this new leadership which includes unity of renewal.”
The paper also says that the group has plans to split their votes by voting for the ANC in the province but giving their national ballots to another party.
According to the Sunday Times, Zuma loyalists in KZN have a detailed plan to undermine Ramaphosa, which would see Sihle Zikalala, an ally to Zuma, re-elected as chairperson of the province, all in efforts to call for an early national general council followed by a national elective conference to remove Ramaphosa.
If this fails, the group will then reportedly resolve to split their votes in the election in 2019 by voting with the ANC in the province but giving their national votes to a party sympathetic to their cause.
At the same time, Apostle Caesar Nongqungaa, a close ally of Zuma, has formed a political party, apparently with Zuma's blessing.
The Sunday Times also claims that Zuma backers were considering working with Andile Mngxitama’s Black First Land First (BLF) ahead of the elections in a bid to punish Ramaphosa for Zuma’s exit, however the BLF leader has denied this.