Africa

South Africa's ruling party confronts divide over Zuma

  • Demonstrators protest against South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Zuma responded to the political crisis that erupted after he fired the finance minister, acknowledging that public disputes at the top of the government are a "serious weakness." (AP Photo)

    Demonstrators protest against South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Zuma responded to the political crisis that erupted after he fired the finance minister, acknowledging that public disputes at the top of the government are a "serious weakness." (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • South African President Jacob Zuma speaks at the official launch of the Trans-Africa Locomotive prototype near Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Zuma responded to the political crisis that erupted after he fired the finance minister, acknowledging that public disputes at the top of the government are a "serious weakness." (AP Photo)

    South African President Jacob Zuma speaks at the official launch of the Trans-Africa Locomotive prototype near Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Zuma responded to the political crisis that erupted after he fired the finance minister, acknowledging that public disputes at the top of the government are a "serious weakness." (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • African National Congress (ANC) veterans speak to reporters after a gathering to discuss the political crisis that erupted after the cabinet reshuffle, in Johannesburg on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. South Africa's president on Tuesday responded to the political crisis that erupted after he fired the finance minister, acknowledging that public disputes at the top of the government are a "serious weakness," while the country's biggest labor group urged him to resign. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

    African National Congress (ANC) veterans speak to reporters after a gathering to discuss the political crisis that erupted after the cabinet reshuffle, in Johannesburg on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. South Africa's president on Tuesday responded to the political crisis that erupted after he fired the finance minister, acknowledging that public disputes at the top of the government are a "serious weakness," while the country's biggest labor group urged him to resign. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)  (The Associated Press)

South Africa's ruling party is calling for unity and urging its officials to refrain from public disputes over the conduct of President Jacob Zuma, who faces growing calls to resign.

Gwede Mantashe, secretary general of the African National Congress, said Wednesday that the party is "gravely concerned" about rare shows of division among top party leaders, including some who criticized Zuma's decision to fire the finance minister last week.

Mantashe spoke a day after a meeting of a key party panel, the National Working Committee.

Late Tuesday, the party released an email of what appeared to be committee meeting notes that indicated significant support for Zuma, despite scandals that hurt the ANC's popularity. The party later said the notes were sent in error and did not reflect the party's position.