Will the ANC call early leadership elections?

Gwede Mantashe says the ANC is avoiding any finger pointing but admits new leadership is needed.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Masa Kekana/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says the idea of an early elective conference is not a bad idea and is being discussed.

Last week, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) officially called for the governing party to have an early national conference to elect new leadership.

The league warned its mother body's current leadership had become entangled in difficult issues and the election results showed the party was in need of regeneration.

The ANC held a media briefing at Luthuli House this afternoon about the party's poor performance specifically in key metros.

The party lost control of Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay, Mogale City and Johannesburg.

Mantashe said the party was avoiding any finger pointing but that new leadership was needed.

"The reconnecting requires a new direction and new leadership. A new direction is the function of the work of the organisation."

#ANC Mantashe on rural metros not being neglected. MK pic.twitter.com/Pf45lUuhu7

Matashe says the party knows where it went wrong.

"We are going to listen and act, research can follow but we know the problems that we came across when we were campaigning."

But he says the ANC is not like other parties who keep the same leadership.

"One of the things that the ANC is known for - many of the opposition parties who have clubbed against us have life presidents, you can think of all of them - in the ANC we go for elections every five years."

The ANC also says it's concerned about the drop in voter support and the National Executive Committee (NEC) will this weekend go back to communities to find out why they have withdrawn their support.

Mantashe says many of the coalitions formed are not in the best interests of citizens.

Mantashe says the ANC will play the role of a strong opposition and keep the newly elected municipalities on their toes.

The general secretary has also warned that any early conference should not be held when people are angry as that will lead to conflict.

He says the ANC is a party that doesn't cling on to its leaders and believes in change of leadership when necessary through elections and the formal structures of the party.

"As a discussion is clear of a yes to an early conference, what is the objective and how do we manage the process to get to results. It's not a bad idea and it's actually being discussed in various structures (sic)."

The general secretary says the party must, however, deal with factionalism and should there be an early conference, there must be unity in the party first.

The ANC says it believes one of the reasons it lost key metros was due to provinces that spoke out against the party.

Mantashe says the party has heard the message from South Africans and the party will now work on reconnecting with its constituency.

He also blamed provinces who spoke out against President Jacob Zuma and the ANC in public and said this lack of unity also lead to the ANC's poor performance.