ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma File photo: ANA/David Ritchie

African National Congress branches have made history by ensuring a woman is on the nomination paper for president at the ANC's upcoming national elective conference, presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told her supporters in Durban on Saturday.

“Branches of the ANC and the ANC have made history because for the first time in the life of our organisation we are going to have a cadre on the ballot paper for the position of president who, among other things, is a woman. That is already history, it has never happened before,” Dlamini-Zuma said at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont during a rally to mark the end of a year-long celebration of the life and leadership of Oliver Tambo.

She thanked “all the branches across the length and breadth of South Africa that have participated in the branch general meetings, all of them, whether they nominated me or not because they have contributed to the first step to making our conference a success”.

Dlamini-Zuma was on Monday nominated by the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal as their preferred candidate for party president at the conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg from December 16 to 20.

The conference was “the most important gathering of our glorious movement”. 

“Whatever happens at Nasrec, history is already made. At Nasrec, we must continue to make history,” she said.

The conference would deal with a number of issues, including implementation of ANC policy. It was necessary to return from the conference with resolutions that dealt with inequality, poverty, and unemployment.

“We must start with implementing policies such as radical economic transformation. We must talk about how this policy will be implemented at Nasrec.” The country’s economy was "owned by whites and whites dominated in all industries".

“It is not normal that the majority of the people of South Africa are not participating in the economy; it needs to be addressed decisively and urgently.”

Leadership of the party could only be discussed once discussions had taken place as to who was capable of implementing policies. There would not be space for “agent provocateurs”, because time would be spent debating policy and implementation, Dlamini-Zuma said.

She again called on her supporters to accept the results of the conference and urged them to “debate respectfully”. 

“We won't be rude and we don’t expect anyone to be rude.”

She urged ANC members to be part of the solution to problems facing the party, “not only prophets of doom”. 

“You must always want to find solutions, because there will always be challenges,” she said.