Mpumalanga and Gauteng Premiers David Mabuza and Paul Mashatile shake hands after they led provincial working committees (PWC) meeting in Johannesburg. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/ANC Gauteng

Johannesburg- Following a meeting with Limpopo African National Congress (ANC) leadership, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza concluded a meeting with Gauteng leaders in his quest to ensure "unity" ahead of the governing party's much anticipated elective conference in December.

In a joint statement, the two provincial leadership described the meeting held in Johannesburg on Monday as "a historic and long-overdue".

"The two PWCs [provincial working committees] agreed to continue with bilateral engagements among themselves and other provinces ahead of the 54th national conference," Mabuza and his Gauteng counterpart Paul Mashatile said in a joint statement.

"We have collectively agreed to take critical steps in the next four months to work very hard to foster unity and cohesion not only within the ANC, but within the broader society. Furthermore, we will develop a joint programme of action between now and December 2017, to have meaningful engagements with all ANC structures in our respective provinces and other provinces." 

Mabuza was once a staunch supporter of President Jacob Zuma and part of the so-called "Premier League", a faction led by Mpumalanga, Free State and North West premiers which relentlessly defended and supported Zuma. 

The premier league's influence has since weakened after Mabuza started preaching unity and thwarting of factionalism in the governing party. 

Free State, led by chairman and premier Ace Magashule has since aligned itself with Zuma's stronghold and home province, KwaZulu-Natal.