As the ANC embarks on a campaign to unite the party following divisive succession battles, a former uMshwathi Municipality councillor’ who was “illegally” removed from his position, is hoping for a peace deal that can bring his job back.Mduduzi Goba (51), a former professional soccer player who switched to politics in the early 90s after retiring from the game, had been a ward councillor since 2006“After the 2016 local government elections, the ANC regional leadership here in Moses Mabhida forced me to resign as a councillor after some people had accused me of being a supporter of KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu.“Several other people in the area were purged after being accused of the same thing.“In my view it would be pointless to talk about unity without correcting mistakes that were done as a result of the factions that were created during the build-up to the ANC elective conference,” he said.Goba was speaking in the wake of calls by newly-elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa for party members in the province to set their differences aside so as to allow the organisation to go to the 2019 general elections a united force.As part of efforts to forge unity, members of the ANC national executive committee (NEC), which had been widely expected to recall President Jacob Zuma during Wednesday’s meeting, resolved not take a decision on the Zuma matter.Goba, who is now struggling to support his six children as a result of his expulsion as councillor, is hoping that the spirit of reconciliation displayed at the NEC meeting will also apply in uMshwathi, where he claims “comrades” were no longer talking to each other.“There is just too much hatred between ANC people in the area. The most painful part is that people are being told to avoid me or any other leader who they perceive to be in the Ramaphosa camp.“They are told they will not get jobs and other services from the municipality if they make any contact with me and the other comrades,” he said.According to Goba, problems started after the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal had adopted a policy advocating the inclusion of more ANC Youth League (ANCYL) members to key leadership structures within the party, as well as the municipality.“We the mature members of the ANC supported the policy as we viewed it as a great idea that will give young people the opportunity to be exposed to the various aspects of leadership.“However, we were taken aback when shortly after the adoption of the policy, there was a purge against mature members of the party. Many senior comrades, most of who were highly respected in the party, were sidelined.“The most painful part is that none of the new leaders attempted to make peace with us. They continue to make decisions without consulting either the community or the former ANC leaders in the area,” he said.Goba said he was disappointed that none of the ANC leaders in the region had bothered to come to explain why he had been removed from his councillor position.“They are carrying on as if everything is fine within the party, but the fact of the matter is that the divisions are killing the organisation,” he saidHowever, ANC regional spokesperson Sphamandla Khumalo said the regional leadership had been hard at work in recent works trying to unite the party in the region.“We know about the grievances ... for us, the matter around unity is no longer optional. As we speak everything is being done to unite the ANC in the region,” he said.