The ANC leadership has accused former director general in the Presidency Frank Chikane of distorting facts in his "Chikane Files" and has asked its members to be cautious of the reverend's writings.

Chikane Files is a series of articles in the Independent Newspapers' daily titles by former President Thabo Mbeki's right-hand man where he lifts the lid on some of the intrigues behind the scenes within the ANC and government during the axing of Thabo Mbeki and the shaky transition that followed.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters that the ruling party's national executive committee (NEC) took exception to Chikane's writings and would meet him to raise their issues.

"It is in the character of the ANC to promote freedom of speech and free circulation of ideas and information within the ANC and broader society.

"However, the publication of the Chikane Files, especially aspects that purport to report in a distorted fashion on NEC meetings when Reverend Chikane was not even present, is viewed in a very serious light.

"We therefore call on our members and our people to be cautious in reading the Chikane Files as they are not a gospel truth of the events that unfolded in the recent past. As an ANC member and leader, the officials of the ANC will seek an audience with him," Mantashe said.

Mantashe refused to elaborate on what they were specifically unhappy about, except to say that they would not be involved in a "street-fight" with Chikane.

"It is not in the character of the ANC to get into mudslinging with a person, we are not going to do it with Reverend Chikane," he said. "(This) confirms what we suspected was the issue, that distortions are published so that we can react and say that, 'this is not correct, this is the truth'.

"Discussions that take place in NEC (meetings) of the ANC and in Cabinet are not released in the fashion they have been released in the Chikane Files, so we are not going to enter that space. We are leaving it to him."

The Sunday Independent understands there was anger during debates at the NEC, with some suggesting a harsh statement against Chikane.

However, some moderate voices suggested that individual ANC leaders, not the organisation, should write alternative views to strengthen the discourse.

The NEC discussions followed a similar debate in government circles.

Asked for comment, Chikane said he was not aware of the NEC's statement and that it would be "unwise" for him to respond without first hearing from the party.

Asked if he would go ahead with the series - which continues this week - Chikane toed a similar line, saying he could not say anything without having heard from the ANC itself.

In the Chikane Files, the former top civil servant wrote about his experiences in the Presidency and his difficulty in executing his job after Mbeki's recall.

Chikane also spoke of plots from Luthuli House to target him as he was considered Mbeki's man - amid unhappiness from some quarters that then President Kgalema Motlanthe had asked him to stay on, to see the transition through.

He also said the ANC made it difficult for Mbeki to resign with dignity - demanding that Mbeki immediately submit his resignation letter even though he had "voluntarily" agreed to quit.

Meanwhile, Mantashe has announced that the ANC would release its national general council discussions papers before the end of this week. They would include as a topic the nationalisation of mines - one of the ANC Youth League's favourite subjects.

The NEC, said Mantashe, also concluded that reports of possible xenophobic attacks were an "exaggeration and sensationalism". But he commended security forces for "their intervention in containing the threat" of xenophobic attacks.