Delegates to the African National Congress convention made her their top choice for the party's National Executive Committee, The Cape Argus reported. A majority of the new committee members are supporters of the new party leader, Jacob Zuma.
The convention ousted President Thabo Mbeki as party leader and purged many of his supporters from the executive committee. But the new committee includes representatives from his wing of the party.
Madikizela-Mandela has long been associated with more radical members of the ANC. She and her husband separated not long after his release from prison and they divorced in 1996.
Under South Africa's repressive apartheid regime, she was convicted of kidnapping a 14-year-old boy who was killed by her bodyguard and of being an accessory to assault. In 2003, she resigned as president of the ANC Women's League and gave up her parliamentary seat after being convicted of fraud.