The succession battle to re-establish leadership in KwaZulu-Natal must be "give and take", a spokesperson for the African National Congress (ANC) "rebels" has said.
Sthembiso Mshengu spoke to News24 on Thursday, following a visit by newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this week, where he touted unity as a cornerstone of the ANC in the province.
Ramaphosa openly called for the two warring factions - one led by now former ANC provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala and the other by former premier Senzo Mchunu - to foster peace.
There is a leadership vacuum in KZN, after the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg dissolved the provincial executive committee in December, pending the outcome of an appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The party's national executive committee is expected to give the way forward.
According to Mshengu, there would have to be "conscious decision-making" among leaders in the province.
"In the process of bringing unity, there has to be sacrifice and compromise. You can interpret that in your own way. Those that will have to sacrifice are those in charge and those in power. They have to accept they cannot just have everything as if there are no changes."
He said that even the "rebel" faction would have to make a sacrifice for unity.
"Even those on the outside, even if we have a political urge, we may not get everything we want. That is the approach and understanding generally."
Mshengu said the decisions taken by the now illegitimate ANC provincial executive council had a devastating impact on party members.
"Those who are outside, instead of those in power - we have been sidelined and humiliated with comrades losing income. This has negatively impacted families. Children have had to be withdrawn from schools, homes and cars taken away and people with no medical cover."
It has led to the "dismantling of families and communities".
Impact on service delivery
According to Mshengu the lack of political leadership in the province had a negative impact on service delivery.
"Service delivery is very broad – the void in power will obviously affect this. MECs and HODs will do as they think is correct, only to find that, at a leadership level, the party would do things differently."
Mshengu said it would take time for leadership to be solidly formed.
"For us, it cannot be as soon as possible. We need to first harmonise the ANC. In the court finding that unseated the provincial executive, it stated due process was not followed. We need to do those things right."
He added: "Rushing will escalate the process and make it tough. We must go to the foundation of the ANC. We must first have legitimate branches. People do not associate with branch leaders who were elected under dubious circumstances."
Former ANC KZN spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In May 2016, ANC councillor Lawrence Dube and four others appealed the province's provincial elective conference that saw Mchunu ousted as provincial chairperson and replaced by Zikalala.
The applicants claimed the conference was not only held prematurely‚ but that it was riddled with irregularities and that the results were rigged. They won their legal bid.