President Cyril Ramaphosa has dared his opponents within the ANC to try removing him at the National General Council (NGC) next year, according to a report on Sunday.
As the National Executive Committee meeting kicked off this weekend, Ramaphosa is said to have told those gathered that he had a "date" with those who had plans to remove him using the NGC next June and was not shaken by threats, insiders told the Sunday Times.
News24 previously reported that fireworks were expected at the NEC, with factional battles expected to reach boiling point.
The NEC meeting comes less than a week after Ramaphosa announced his intention to take a Public Protector report on review.
The report included findings about a R500 000 donation to Ramaphosa's ANC presidential campaign, received from Gavin Watson, the head of services company African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa).
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found he had violated the executive code of ethics but Ramaphosa, addressing the nation, said her report contained "numerous factual inaccuracies of a material nature".
He also claimed Mkhwebane had violated the Public Protector Act, the Constitution and "the principles of our common law" by not giving him an opportunity to comment on the proposed remedial actions.
Mkhwebane's report also looked at Ramaphosa presidential campaign account, the donations received and how the money moved around.
The NEC was also expected to focus on known Ramaphosa loyalist Derek Hanekom, who was accused by former president Jacob Zuma on Twitter as being a "known agent".
Zuma had been reacting to the news that EFF leader Julius Malema alleged that Hanekom, a known President Cyril Ramaphosa loyalist , had conspired with some to oust Zuma in a motion of no confidence in the National Assembly two years ago.
The motion was seen as an important moment in Zuma's downfall. Some ANC MPs voted with the opposition, but the attempt did not succeed.
The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has called for Hanekom's immediate suspension after he admitted meeting the EFF.
In a statement on Thursday, the MKMVA said there was no need for the party and its secretary general Ace Magashule to investigate the matter further, saying this should be done during this weekend's NEC meeting.
Former president Jacob Zuma's outspoken son, Edward, called on the NEC to take action against Hanekom and all others involved in "such treasonous acts".
On Wednesday, Hanekom admitted meeting EFF secretary general Gordrich Gardee. However, when he responded to a query from News24, he initially denied that there was anything sinister about it.
"I have said - not admitted - that at the time I met Gardee. His initiative, not mine. There is nothing with meeting a fellow MP, which is what we were at the time."
Later, after a Kader Asmal lecture in Sandton, Johannesburg, on the same night, Hanekom said his meeting with the EFF was of a common interest as it was during a "difficult time in South Africa's history". He also said "there is no way" he could have refused to have a meeting of that nature with fellow parliamentarians.
In an ANC statement issued by Magashule on Wednesday night, the party called Hanekom a "wedge driver" and EFF sleeper.
Members of the ANC Veterans League penned an open letter to the Top Six and NEC on Saturday, noting their great concern and alarm about Magashule's public attacke on Hanekom.
"We strongly urge the NEC to call on all members, irrespective of their position in our movement not to make unsubstantiated accusations especially, when we all are aware of the potential consequences of irresponsibly labelling comrades as enemy agents and spies,"
the letter read.
"Lastly, and most importantly, we wish to assert that the sequence of events that has unfolded this week, and attacks that preceded this on comrades Pravin Gordhan, Trevor Manuel, Maria Ramos and others, appear to be an orchestrated campaign to divert attention from corruption and state capture."