Supporters of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule are questioning the validity of the party's investigation into allegations that he was involved in the formation of the African Transformation Movement (ATM).
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe confirmed on Wednesday that the national executive committee (NEC) had "directed" the national working committee (NWC) to investigate whether any of the party's members were "involved in the establishment of other political parties".
On Tuesday, News24 revealed that the ANC would launch a probe into claims that Magashule was involved in the formation of the ATM - a rival political party - ahead of last month's general elections.
ANC to probe Magashule over allegations that he helped form rival party
Magashule, who has not been named in the short statement that the governing party released on Wednesday, was linked to the creation of the ATM by Buyisile Ngqulwana, the South African Council of Messianic Churches' secretary-general.
The party said that an ad-hoc committee - comprising former president Kgalema Motlanthe, former National Assembly speaker Frene Ginwala and advocate Fezeka Magano - would lead the investigation.
MKMVA leader Kebby Maphatsoe said the party could not establish committees based on rumours.
The outspoken MK veteran added that the NEC was showing that the party was not united by instigating the investigation.
"The ANC must deal with factionalism first and clear it. It looks like there are people who don't want Ace in his post. Making mistakes is going to create more divisions."
Maphatsoe said unless there were people with facts, proof and evidence then none of it was real.
Another staunch supporter of Magashule and party insider, who did not want to be named, laughed off the investigation, saying it was based on allegations.
The party insider said this would instead give Magashule the ammunition against his detractors.
"They don't have proof. In order for the investigation to hold any water it must be on paper. I want to see letters, I want to see videos, I want to hear recordings. If this isn't produced, then what's to say that we all can't be hauled into a committee.
"They are doing what was done to former president Jacob Zuma, they are persecuting him based on media accounts. It's enough to get branches to say, 'enough is enough'."
According to the terms of reference set out by the NEC, ad-hoc members are expected to produce a report to Magashule within 60 days of the investigation. Evidence will include sound recordings, video footage, affidavits and oral testimony.
The ANC Youth League in the Free State claimed that this was an attempt to silence Magashule in his fight to have the Nasrec resolutions implemented.
"We reject this preposterous and clumsy allegation with the contempt it deserves. We believe that this is simply an attempt to limit the constitutional powers of the secretary-general of the ANC."