No ANC member was elected to a positions of leadership because of loyalty to President Jacob Zuma, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Friday.
"This [notion] is a serious assault on the character of many capable individuals in the ANC," Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg.
If news analysis of the African National Congress was done properly, these kind of assertions would not happen.
Mantashe said the ANC had been meeting with intellectuals and analysts. Analysis of the party in newspaper columns was often worrying.
"Analysts and communicators must come [and talk to the ANC] and not do analysis from small corners," he said.
This was "arrogance at its best".
Mantashe's remarks followed reports after the ANC's national conference in Mangaung last month where members seeking new leadership were snubbed and excluded from positions of leadership.
The issue was discussed at the ANC's one-day national executive committee (NEC) meeting held in Irene, south of Pretoria on Thursday.
The meeting was a continuation of the one held in Durban earlier this month.
Mantashe said during the meeting the NEC acknowledged its primary task of implementing the mandate of last month's national conference.
This included focusing on ethics and political education as part of the "decade of the cadre" and delivering socio-economic freedom.
He said it was decided that youth unemployment should be tackled urgently.
The party also agreed that there was a need for the private sector to be monitored to ensure it was committing itself to the national programme outlined in the national development plan.
"High unemployment, deepening poverty and growing inequality remain the most pre-eminent problems facing society," Mantashe said.
"As we deal with the situation in the mining industry, the challenges facing the agricultural sector, the reality of these three pre-eminent problems must inform the approach."