ANC deputy president David "DD" Mabuza has called for a ceasefire within the liberation movement, pleading with members to stop fighting each other and focus on the party's goals instead.
Mabuza's comments come as tensions continue within the structures of the ANC.
"I am prepared to sacrifice anything for the sake of the life of the ANC and I am saying to my comrades, enough is enough," said the country's deputy president.
He was speaking to News24 on the sidelines of a Thuma Mina campaign event he was leading in the community of Mkhondo, in Piet Retief, on Sunday.
Earlier he met with community members and conducted a door-to-door campaign. This was Mabuza's first public engagement since, according to his office, he took sick leave and travelled to Russia for a medical check-up.
Mabuza called on his comrades to "leave the fighting".
His comments come as squabbles continue in many of the ANC's structures: recently the party faced claims of a plot to topple its president; former North West chairperson and premier Supra Mahumapelo has hauled the party to court; and there is fierce contestation over list processes in some provinces.
Even some of the party's leagues are embattled, including the ANC Youth League, which is struggling to prepare its members for a national elective conference in December.
Accused of switching sides
A fractured ANC delivered a "unity" slate when delegates representing branches from across the country elected Mabuza into his position at its national conference, alongside Cyril Ramaphosa as its president, Ace Magashule as secretary general, Jessie Duarte as Magashule's deputy, Paul Mashatile as treasurer general and Gwede Mantashe as national chairperson.
Mabuza had insisted on "unity" in the run-up to the ANC's conference. Mpumalanga, which he previously led as both premier and the party's provincial secretary, took his sentiments further and nominated "unity" as its preferred candidate to win the elective congress.
"When I spoke about it, I saw what was going to come. We are in the middle of the problem. [We] went to Nasrec divided, conference tried to bring us together but it's going to take us time to heal," said Mabuza who insisted his actions were an attempt to help his movement.
Some in the ANC have accused him of betrayal, claiming he switched sides, leaving former African Union Commission chairperson and now minister of planning in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her slate for Ramaphosa.
This has apparently resulted in a lack of trust in the ANC's number two, with some lobbying for branches not to nominate him as the country's deputy president when branches put together their wish list of members they want the ANC to deploy to Parliament and provincial legislatures.
"I am ready to do anything for the ANC to survive because this ANC is the only weapon available to the majority of our people who are suffering," Mabuza told News24.
"It can't be us who destroy this weapon," added the deputy president.
Acknowledging that mistakes had been made, Mabuza said they should be corrected but without the destruction of the 106-year-old liberation movement.
"Each and every household has its own problems, but they don't burn the household, they don't destroy it," said Mabuza.
'ANC not afraid of public scrutiny'
Mabuza also called for patience on the work of the commission of inquiry into state capture.
The commission is looking into allegations of widespread looting and the role the Gupta family played, amid claims that it had undue influence over former president Jacob Zuma, his executive and some state-owned enterprises.
While the ANC says it is not on trial, it has found its name and some of its leaders' at the centre of some of the allegations. Mabuza said this was a process the ANC was prepared to subject itself to.
"We are not going to hide. If people keep on pointing fingers and saying the ANC is corrupt, then we are prepared to undergo any process [to test that]," said Mabuza.
Although he said he had no reason to go to the commission led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo as he had no information on the claims, it was important for those who "know certain things, to go there".
He said the party could not ignore the allegations levelled against it and some of its members.
"The ANC is prepared to self-correct and not afraid to accept our shortcomings," said Mabuza.
He also called for restraint, saying people should allow the commission to conclude its task before passing judgement on alleged events.