ANC presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu has apologised to the Liliesleaf Farm branch of the party for her part in the factional battles leading up to the Polokwane elective conference in 2007.
In her speech on organisational unity on Saturday, Sisulu said what happened in Polokwane could not be repeated.
"We were exactly at this point in 2006/7 and then we went to Polokwane and we allowed the divisions to grow because each of us was swallowed by some faction or the other. It didn't matter what voices came to us saying don't destroy... This division still remains."
The creation of Polokwane factional battles should not ever repeat itself, she told the Liliesleaf members.
"Those of us who were in the trenches of 2006/7, may you forgive us. We must not dare make those mistakes (again)."
The ANC did not realise the long-lasting damage Polokwane would cause, she said.
Sisulu said she now realised that the most important thing was the ANC. "The ANC must win."
She said the party defied the enemy but the definition of the enemy now was poverty and societal issues.
She said the ANC could not afford to lose the 2019 elections.
"We dare not go beyond where we are. That is the threat that must be foremost in our minds. We cannot lose power as the ANC. If we lose power, we lose all those years of sacrifice, all those people who died for a better life. A better life cannot be guaranteed by anyone else."
Handle anger with care
She said even when branches are angry they should handle it with care, adding that branches had a responsibility within the party.
"Right now comrades, we are not looking too good... Democracy allows us to have disagreements among ourselves. Our organisation allows us to have disagreements. We are allowed to differ, but those differences should come to a stop when it comes to the policy conference."
She said even ANC stalwarts such as her father Walter Sisulu were cautioned on public differences which would cause a split but ignored it.
Robert Sobukwe then split from the ANC forming the Pan African Congress.
Presidents Jacob Zuma emerged victorious after the Polokwane conference against the then president Thabo Mbeki. This created a shift in ANC politics causing the formation of the Congress of the People.
"I hope as we head to the policy conference one of the things we will resolve our differences because if we emerge from that not united we will have missed a golden opportunity." -- News24