The interim structure set up by the national executive committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal is "unbalanced" and "factional", supporters of ousted provincial chair Senzo Mchunu said on Monday.
The unhappy Mchunu faction demonstrated outside the ANC KZN headquarters in Durban, while a meeting between the interim structure - set up last Monday - and three of their representatives took place inside the offices.
The structure in question has been tasked with overseeing the planning of a provincial conference in April, following the suspension of the provincial executive committee (PEC) earlier this month.
The PEC was suspended following a court battle over the legitimacy of the outcomes of the 2015 provincial elective conference.
The conference saw suspended ANC KZN chair Sihle Zikalala topple Mchunu as chair of the province.
Some of the demonstrators who wore CR17 Siyavuma T-shirts (in support of song ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa).
They also carried placards bearing the words "Factional PTT must fall", "We demand balanced PTT", and "PWC to PTT that's nonsense".
They sang pro-Mchunu and pro-Ramaphosa songs.
They blamed current ANC secretary general Ace Magashule for the "biased" interim structure, which includes suspended Zikalala. Zikalala, who backed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for president of the party, is the coordinator of the structure.
The group, which braved the scorching January sun, also sang anti-Magashule songs containing vulgar lyrics.
After the meeting, Zikalala denied that the demonstrators were against the interim structure.
He said the demonstration was "not so much" about the provincial interim committee, "but they are raising a concern to the national working committee".
Zikalala said the concern they raised was that the province had been going through difficulties and divisions "and a number of things have happened in that period".
"They don't believe that the ANC KZN will be able to go to the conference within the set time frame in the manner that will help unite [us]," he said.
He said they will "make an attempt" to meet representatives of the unhappy members next week.
"We will try and get one or two of the NEC leaders, especially those who have been assigned to work with us, to be with us during the meeting," he said.
The 16-member structure is led by former provincial economic development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, who campaigned for Ramaphosa leading up to the recent national elective conference.
On the current divisions in the ANC in KZN, Mabuyakhulu said: "Unity is not something given to you on a platter, it is something that you work so hard for. It's going to take the leadership par excellence, that would actually lead all of us out of our own positions, and the way that we view things to understand that we are serious when we are saying the ANC needs each and every office member to be part and parcel of the renewal process and of forging unity."
He urged members to move away from the "mindset" they had before the December election.
"We can't have the same mindset that actually landed us in the challenges we are facing. We have to rise far beyond those challenges. The interim structure is trying to inculcate these values to ensure that we all move beyond that."
He said Ramaphosa was not the president of a faction, but of the whole ANC.
Mabuyakhulu and Zikalala reiterated that the interim structure was not a provincial task team (PTT) but refused to explain the difference between the two.
One of the three representatives of the demonstrators, Mthunzi Dlamini from Ward 102 in eThekwini, said they were not protesting against the structure.
He also denied that they blamed Magashule for deploying more members of the suspended PEC into the structure, despite the anti-Magashule song they sang and the anti-interim structure placards they carried.
"I didn't hear the song. We recognise Ace Magashule as the secretary general of the ANC," he said.
Speaking in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, Magashule said it was not his decision alone to select those who are in the structure.
"It is not mine, but the ANC's (decision). It's not a faction. We chose ordinary members of the ANC," he said.