The ANC will, in the next five years - expected to be Jacob Zuma's tenure at the country's helm - prioritise fighting crime, and improve access to education and health.
This was said yesterday by Zuma, the party's president, when he delivered the keynote address at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Howard College campus.
He was speaking at the launch of the Gandhi-Luthuli chair of peace studies.
The chair commemorates those who fought against apartheid and for peace and non-violence.
Having had no formal education himself, Zuma said the ANC would intensify efforts to ensure that at least 60 percent of disadvantaged children did not have to pay for education.
He said the party was also trying to improve access to free education for the poor because "investment in education is investment in the future".
"Education is important in any country and we cannot be seen to be failing in this respect.
"We have to create an environment where poor children will access education, because children are the future," he said.
Zuma hailed the crucial role played by Mahatma Gandhi and Inkosi Albert Luthuli in fighting for the liberation of black people in South Africa.
"Gandhi and Luthuli were the most important political leaders ever to walk the soil of KwaZulu-Natal.
"They both stood for courage and challenged those who thought they could not be vanquished," he said.
Zuma also hailed the establishment of street committees as part of crime prevention measures. He said he believed street committees were the best formula to fight crime.
"KwaZulu-Natal was the first to launch street committees and we are confident this is the best formula to fight and prevent crime," he said.
Praising the university, Zuma said the institution had played a big role in creating opportunities for development, which the continent needed.
He said the ANC was disturbed by media reports in India that Indians in this country were ill-treated.
The university's vice-chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, said the chair reflected the institution's growing internationalism.
He said it also created academic space for articulating and sustaining a growing demand for a relevant curriculum for African-Asian studies.
"The studies will deal with issues related to philosophy, human rights, history, language and morality in civil society," said Makgoba.
Among the dignitaries who attended the occasion were India's high commissioner to South Africa, Rajiv Kumar Bhatia, Anand Shama, the minister of state for external affairs of India, ANC provincial chairman and NEC member Zweli Mkhize, eThekwini deputy mayor Loggie Naidoo, MEC for sports and recreation Amichand Rajbansi and professor Fatima Meer.