ANC president Jacob Zuma said “angry people” would not “misdirect” the ruling party from its mission to improve lives, the SABC reported on Tuesday.

“I don’t think we should worry about angry people. They are likely to take your time, your effort [and] misdirect it,” Zuma told an African National Congress Women’s League function at Welkom in the Free State on Monday evening.

“There’s a task to better the lives of our people. There is a task to deal with the issues.”

He dismissed accusations by suspended former ANC chairman Terror Lekota that the ANC was diverting from its policies.

Lekota, who is expected to launch a breakaway party next month alongside former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa, has repeatedly criticised the ANC’s new leaders elected at Polokwane last December. Lekota said the new leaders were diverting from the principle of equality before the law, referring to fraud and corruption charges that had been brought against Zuma, who has since won a court bid to declare his prosecution invalid.

“One of its characteristics is clarity of the ANC… on its policies, in its programmes. It is consistent in its policies, cultures and traditions,” said Zuma.