The ANC is taking legal advice on the use of the name Congress of the People for the new breakaway party under the leadership of dissident Mosiuoa Lekota, a spokesperson said on Friday.

“We are going to take legal advice for the following reasons – the name, the Congress of the People, is an event in the calendar of the ANC,” ruling party spokesperson Jessie Duarte said.

“It’s the function, where in 1955, the Freedom Charter was adopted.”

She said the ANC led the campaign with the Natal Indian Congress and the Coloured People Congress to collect clauses for the charter.

“They then convened a meeting called the Congress of the People,” said Duarte.

Also, Duarte said the ANC is known as “Khongolose” among its supporters, which means “congress” in isiZulu.

“We need to protect the ANC from this group of mavericks who seem to be bankrupt politicians.

“We, the ANC, are very busy at the moment and we don’t want to [waste] our energy on this any longer… so we are taking legal advice,” she said.

Lekota, the former chairperson of the ANC, and former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa are launching a breakaway party on December 16.

The new organisation has struggled to find an appropriate name.

First, it seemed to call itself the South African National Congress but abandoned that name after it became clear that the African National Congress would object to a name similar to its own.

It then announced that its name was the South African Democratic Congress but was forced to go back to the drawing board when it discovered that a party of that name had already been registered with the Independent Electoral Commission.

Shilowa finally announced on Thursday that the party would be known as the Congress of the People.