The ANC has dismissed the City Press's front page report stating that the headline of the story does not reflect what its secretary general, Ace Magashule, is reported to have said in the article.
It has called the piece, headlined "Secretary-General Ace Magashule says: We don't need white votes", "sensational hot air".
The report focuses on the possibility of white voters giving their support to the ANC due to "Ramaphoria", the positive sentiment linked to Cyril Ramaphosa's position as ANC leader and state president.
This has been a widely discussed topic in recent weeks.
The article quotes Magashule's thoughts and comments on the matter.
It also mentions that on Friday, ANC Gauteng spokesperson Tasneem Motara said their research indicated that "white support in Gauteng has grown".
But the national ANC has taken exception to the reportage.
"For City Press to say the Secretary General, Cde Ace Magashule said the ANC does not need white votes, is mischievous and deliberately misleading and a total fabrication.
"The headline does not reflect what the body of the article reports the Secretary General of the ANC to have said," acting national spokesperson, Dakota Legoete said in a statement on Sunday.
The governing party explains that Magashule's remarks emphasised that the ANC is a democratic organisation whose support is not based on colour.
"Comrade Magashule pointed out that there are progressive, democratic, whites who will vote for the ANC. However, he made the obvious factual observation that the majority of South African voters are those who were oppressed - blacks in general, and Africans in particular," Legoete explained.
The political party goes on to state that Magashule noted that to think whites would be voting for the ANC did not make sense to him in terms of the "prevailing objective conditions in South Africa".
"Our hope is not based on colour, and therefore people cannot say that whites this time are going to vote ANC, as if blacks are actually not going to vote ANC," Magashule said.
The ANC is of the view that the above quote indicates that Magashule did not say the party did not need white votes, as reported in the Sunday publication.
"The ANC needs every vote - black and white - and we are grateful for the support that we receive from every South African regardless of colour," Legoete added.
The governing party has thus called on voters to be vigilant and not be misled by what they deem to be unethical journalism and appealed to the media to report fairly and truthfully.
"As the election campaign intensifies South African voters are likely to be subjected to biased, selective and distorted media reporting, and even downright fake news.
"We call on all media to report in a responsible and balanced manner, and not to become involved in partisan reporting that eventually degenerates into politicking and biased political campaigning," Legoete concluded.
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