The ANC says party members who insult President Cyril Ramaphosa should be disciplined for instigating disunity within the organisation.
"The ANC condemns in the strongest terms insults directed at the person of the president, Cde Cyril Ramaphosa, by ANC leaders as well as members on social media," spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement.
The party's comments follow a report in The Citizen newspaper that the mayor of Dihlabeng Local Municipality in the Free State, Lindiwe Kambule Makhalema, called Ramaphosa a "sellout" in a closed Facebook group.
Makhalema was responding to a question a fellow party member had posed in the group.
Only Facebook users who have been verified as loyal ANC members are accepted in the group through a vetting process.
The newspaper reported that a member of the group asked others to name the "biggest stinking sellout" they knew and Makhamela responded "Ramaphosa". She was unapologetic when questioned about the post.
Mabe said they have asked that the Free State and Gauteng provincial executive committees to institute disciplinary proceedings against the mayor for "publicly insulting" Ramaphosa.
The disciplinary proceedings will be the first under its social media policy.
The party recently adopted a social media policy that prescribes that any social media posts must be "legal, ethical and respectful" at all times. It prohibits members from "utilising inflammatory language".
"We, therefore, find the recent upsurge in insults towards our leadership, particularly the president, extremely disturbing and view them in a serious light," Mabe added.