Cape Town - Branches of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) will accept the outcome of the party's elective conference next month, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
Speaking to members of the press corps in Parliament, Ramaphosa conceded the ANC was going into the December conference much more divided than had been the case with previous conferences, but said the party's Constitution and its rules would eventually reign supreme.
"The ANC has its own shock absorbers. The shock absorbers are our constitution," he said.
"Will members accept outcomes? Yes, I believe the members of the ANC, in a very disciplined way, will accept the outcome of the conference."
Ramaphosa spoke of his dinner with President Jacob Zuma and the other six candidates vying for the position of ANC president.
He referred to media reports in which the occasion was given a biblical reference and called "the last supper", insisting there was no Judas Iscariot and that rather everyone "hugged each other".
"This time around I don't know who the Judas Iscariot is likely to be...no one had a dagger in their pocket...."
Ramaphosa said Zuma called on all presidential candidates to ensure they prevent divisions from manifesting before and after the elective conference.
The presidential hopefuls are Ramaphosa, former cabinet minister and African Union Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, Presidency Minister Jeff Radebe, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and former ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa.
"You will find in the end the divisions are not going to be that stark and once the delegates decide on the leadership line-up of the ANC, you'll find the ANC closes ranks as it has always done and moves forward as a united organism."
The run-up to the conference has been marred by court challenges to provincial conferences and factional battles within the ruling party.