It will not reflect badly on President Jacob Zuma if the so-called second transition proposal is rejected, the ANC said on Thursday.
"Why would it, when one terminology is questioned, reflect on the president?" asked African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
He was speaking to SAfm, reacting to several newspaper reports on Thursday morning that the second transition proposal had been rejected by most provinces at the ANC's policy conference in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Business Day newspaper described it as a "setback for Zuma", but Mthembu questioned the media's interpretation.
He said several media had suggested, "this shows a rejection of the president before Mangaung", referring to the ANC 's elective conference to be held in Mangaung, in the Free State, in December.
"How does that come in?" asked Mthembu.
"I don't know what the sources of these reports are."
He said the second transition proposal was not Zuma's proposal, but was an ANC discussion document.
"What we are worried about as the ANC, is the content of that report. Whether you call it 'second transition', whether you call it 'accelerating growth'... if we come up with radical means, the ANC will be more than happy.
"We are not married to that terminology," said Mthembu.
He said the ANC merely wanted to get a radical solution on how to deal with poverty and unemployment.
Business Day reported that "virtually all commissions" had rejected the second transition discussion document for being theoretically poor.
According to unattributed notes quoted in the newspaper, delegates wrote: "... While the reasons behind reference to a second transition were understandable, the concept is inappropriate, and does not convey the movement's theorisation of the process of social transformation".
The Star newspaper quoted ANC national executive committee members as saying all commissions at the conference had rejected the second transition proposal.
Beeld newspaper quoted Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi as saying he felt people's opposition to the second transition was "justified".
"Everybody is talking about the second transition. Some people are opposed to it, which in my opinion is completely justified. But it's of crucial importance for us to emerge from this conference with a radical policy change," he told the Afrikaans daily newspaper.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is also believed to oppose the idea of a second transition.
A document on the second transition is one of the ANC's 13 policy documents under discussion at the four-day conference.
Zuma said in opening the conference on Tuesday that the second transition would make the country a "true democratic developmental state... which has a number of instruments it can use to facilitate change".
The first transition was still important because it had ushered in an era of democracy in South Africa.
"The time has come to do something more drastic to accelerate change towards economic transformation and freedom."
Zuma asked delegates to discuss the notion of a second transition when dealing with the strategy and tactics document.
"It is time to ask questions about the present and future... the last 18 years was the first transition. We are calling for a dramatic shift... to deal with the triple challenge[s] of poverty, unemployment and inequality," said Zuma.