ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. File picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg – The African National Congres party is being damaged by leaked emails alleging fraud in the awarding of state contracts, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.

AmaBhungane, a non-profit group that has a strong track record of exposing what its says is government corruption, last week released some of more than 100 000 leaked emails and documents.

It said the emails show companies owned by the Gupta family unduly influence the awarding of government contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Reuters was not able to independently verify the allegations.

President Jacob Zuma has denied wrongdoing and the Gupta family and its companies have also denied all allegations of influence-peddling or improper dealings.

Mantashe's comments come six months before the ANC holds a conference where members will choose a successor to Zuma.

He said the debate about removing the 75-year old leader would become "less complex" when a new ANC leader is chosen at the party conference in December.

Zuma, who has survived two no-confidence votes within the party in the last six months, can stay in power until a 2019 election.