The African National Congress (ANC) says it is willing to engage the party's veterans who are calling for a consultative conference to be held separately from the policy conference in 2017.
Stalwarts in the ANC held a meeting on Tuesday, during which they agreed there should be a level of separation between the two gatherings.
In November the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) had agreed to extend the policy conference and to dedicate the first two days of it to dealing with issues of organisational renewal.
"The ANC will continue to engage with our veterans," said ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.
He said the ANC has already started talking to the stalwarts and would continue to do so.
More than 100 veterans from the ANC signed a document titled "For the Sake of Our Future", calling for the ANC to rededicate itself to the values and principles of its founding fathers.
Need for 'in-depth discussion'
They said they were worried about the trajectory the party was moving in, with some previously having called for the president and his NEC to step down.
"There is no disagreement about the national consultative conference, given many other things, it must sit up to the political and organisational work that the policy conference must do, hence we set aside two days for it," Kodwa said.
But the stalwarts of the party felt the work which needs to be done by the consultative conference will be overtaken if the two are combined.
"The consultative conference needs to do in-depth discussions about how we correct all the things that contributed to the crisis that the ANC finds itself in," said writer and veteran Wally Serote.
Other sectors of society, including churches and civic organisations, needed to participate in the consultative conference, said the elders in the party, according to whom the ANC is not just a political party but a leader in society.
The stalwarts said they would stand against attempts to undermine South Africa's constitutional democracy.