Pretoria – The ANC's much anticipated elective conference taking place in two weeks' time is a golden opportunity for the party to return to its golden days, said presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa.
Speaking at a send-off rally in Soshanguve on Sunday organised by ANC branches in Tshwane, the party's outgoing deputy president said this conference was a critical gathering for the 105 year old liberation movement.
He and NEC member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are the front runners to replace President Jacob Zuma when he steps down as the president of the party.
"Many will be travelling from far away countries because this is a do or die conference, this is [the] conference is where we are going to build the ANC, we are going to make the ANC much more powerful and make sure the ANC comes out of this conference stronger," he said.
Ramaphosa also gave more insights into what he would be focusing on, should he eventually become president of both the ANC and the country, talking about unemployment, inequality and poverty.
"Many people are losing hope, some are losing jobs, this is a very serious problem that we believe we need to focus more attention on," he noted.
He further explained that growing the economy would be the answer to all those problems.
Ramaphosa called for the black majority to play a greater role in the country's economy through radical economic transformation.
"It has been 23 years too long. They want to be managers, the want to be owners, they want to be controllers. They are sick and tired of being pushed aside," he said.
"We want an inclusive process, inclusive involvement and inclusive growth.
"We are sick and tired of being relegated to the back, but we have now arrived."
Ramaphosa added that he would make sure land was returned to its people.
Hopefuls agree to discuss conference
Ramaphosa also spoke about a dinner he and 6 other presidential hopefuls had with Zuma this week, jokingly saying he noticed some had termed it the "last supper."
He said Zuma asked the hopefuls to make sure the conference was well run and for their supporters to be well behaved by adhering to the rules of the ANC and the conference.
"It must be a conference which is underpinned by dignity, it must be a conference that is going to promote unity of the ANC because after this conference I want to be proud member of the ANC," Zuma said, according to Ramaphosa.
Although he was reluctant to share what the hopefuls had to say each other, he offered the crowd a rundown of the night's menu.
"There was chicken, there was mutton, there was pap, there was rice, there was vegetables and ice-cream and fruit," said Ramaphosa.