The National Freedom Party (NFP) claims it has a new national executive and has blamed a government spokesperson for meddling in party affairs.
But the spokesperson has hit back, saying that the newly-elected leadership has "factional tendencies".
Sindi Mashinini-Maphumulo on Wednesday declared herself the deputy president of the party, saying that the NFP held a national elective meeting over the weekend and that a new executive has taken up positions.
Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi is still the party's president, Mashinini-Maphumulo said.
She said that no one would challenge the leader because the constitution of the party declared she would remain the leader for 10 years.
Despite questions on why KaMagwaza-Msibi was not at the press conference to give her blessing to the "new NEC", Mashinini-Maphumulo insisted that the election was legitimate.
"Everything has been done according to the constitution of the party. She has poor health."
She said the statements coming from KaMagwaza-Msibi, which rejected the new NEC, were a direct result of KaMagwaza-Msibi's spokesperson Canaan Mdletshe.
Mdletshe is also the spokesperson for KaMagwaza-Msibi in her capacity as deputy minister of science and technology.
"There is no such [thing] that she would write a statement as such. It was written by Canaan Mdletshe. He is not and will never be part of us. He is the spokesperson of department - not the party."
Mashinini-Maphumulo did not say if KaMagwaza-Msibi had given her blessing for the new NEC.
She said that they had last seen her in July and that her health had meant she was not able to properly perform party duties.
Speaking to News24 Mdletshe painted a different picture saying that KaMagwaza-Msibi had been attending public rallies and meeting with the NFP constituency as recent as this past weekend.
“This past weekend she was attending a rally in Abaqulsi. She handed out food parcels. On the same day they were having this clandestine meeting, she was at ward 18 having a rally there.”
Mdletshe rubbished claims that the NEC was legitimate.
“They cannot claim to be the NEC. The NEC was dissolved on April 22 because their term of office had lapsed and they had dismally failed to take us to conference and to register the party for the local government elections.”
He said KaMagwaza-Msibi thoroughly checked all statement he released on her behalf.
“Before I issue any statement, we sit down and we draft it. If she is happy with it, it goes to media. She checks it line by line.”
He added that she was visiting traditional leaders in Ulundi.
“She is working, trust me. She is engaging people and she is leading."