The presidential hopeful is never going to take a chill pill on his continuing attack on those powerful officials stealing from the poor.

Ramaphosa was on a two-day door-to-door campaign in the dissolved municipality of Nquthu this weekend to drum up support for the ANC ahead of the May 24 by-elections.

However‚ he stunned some members of the ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) when he flew to the eMalahleni region some 200km away in Newcastle to address party “rebels‚” among them former KZN chairman Senzo Mchunu and former MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu.

Mchunu and Mabuyakhulu are seen as being among ANC KZN figures opposed to President Jacob Zuma and his preferred successor Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Provincial ANC spokesman and PEC member Mdumiseni Ntuli said they were disappointed with Ramaphosa.

“It was a clearly a gathering of the faction. We did not know about the event and the ANC was never invited‚” he said.

The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) had invited Ramaphosa to deliver a Chris Hani memorial lecture at the Osizweni township hall.

Ntuli said they would not raise the matter with Ramaphosa but would take it up with SANCO.

Richard Mkhungo‚ the provincial secretary of SANCO‚ said his members had the right to invite anyone to address them.

“They are not a faction. Until such time that we take an opinion on which candidate we feel should lead the ANC‚ we will invite all officials‚” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal went to the last two national conferences – Polokwane in 2007 and Mangaung in 2012 – as a single voting block.

But there’s a possibility it could go into this year’s conference divided‚ with those backing Mchunu supporting a pro-Ramaphosa slate while the other grouping backs Dlamini-Zuma.

Asked about the unhappiness over his appearance at the SANCO gathering‚ Ramaphosa said the matter had not been brought to his attention.

“No it hasn’t been brought to my attention. I was [there] talking about the ANC and how the ANC needs to rebuild…that is the task for all of us to undertake‚” he said. In his address in Newcastle‚ Ramaphosa said the ANC’s problems could give the opposition the upper hand in 2019 unless swiftly addressed.

“The question is how are we going to get our people to have confidence in the ANC again? Our people don’t trust us. People look at us as criminals. They don’t trust us. What we need to do is to find ways of winning back our people. They must trust us again. Those stealing from the people must be removed and be disciplined. We must deal with them‚” he said in a clip flighted by .

Ramaphosa said critics of the ANC needed to be listened to‚ not chastised.

“As the ANC we should not and cannot dismiss those people and think they are crazy. Our people are not crazy. When they see something wrong‚ they will react to that. They will say‚ we do not accept that because it is not right‚” he said.