First on EWN: Nzimande says ANC risks imploding as a political party

The SACP leader & minister says the ANC needs to find a new way to manage leadership change.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande talks to the media at Youth Day commemorations at the Orlando stadium in Soweto on 16 June 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South African Communist Party (SACP) leader and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says the African National Congress (ANC) needs to find a new way to manage leadership change.

He says if it continues to have leadership elections, it risks imploding as a political party.

The SACP leader's comments come amid claims that a group of premiers, known as the 'premier league', are trying to influence next year's ANC leadership election.

In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News , he also says it's clear that when Thabo Mbeki was recalled as president in 2008, the symptoms of factionalism were dealt with - but not the cause.

WATCH: Blade Nzimande: ANC risks imploding if it continues to change leaders

Speaking as the ANC prepares to go into a leadership election next year, Nzimande says the party should not go through another contested leadership election like it did at Polokwane.

He says it seems nothing has changed in the party since 2007, adding that his party won't officially back anyone, should there be a contest between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and African Union (AU) Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

NZIMANDE: THE GUPTAS ARE THE WORST FORM OF PARASITIC BOURGEOISIE

The SACP has been increasingly critical in recent weeks of the Gupta family and other forms of what it calls 'state capture'.

Nzimande says there's no proof that the relationship between the president and the Gupta family has allowed for them to capture the state.

WATCH: 'Zuma should publicly distance himself from the Guptas'

He has however called on President Jacob Zuma to publicly distance himself from the family, 'for his own sake'.

Nzimande says they want to fight all forms of corporate capture, saying the behaviour of the Gupta family is particularly disgusting.

He believes they were right to back Zuma so strongly at Polokwane in 2007 and that the party's presence in government has had an impact on government policy.

LISTEN: Blade Nzimande tackles issues affecting SA & the SACP