ANC president Jacob Zuma has called on the government to be tougher on criminals.
Speaking to hundreds of people who converged on his homestead at Nkandla, Zuma said he was convinced that the government could win the fight against crime.
"Criminals need to know that by breaking the law they will suffer the consequences. I believe there is a need for the establishment of an efficient and transformed justice system," Zuma said.
As patron of the Jacob Zuma Trust Fund, he was hosting a Christmas party for local orphans. Set up in 1996, the trust helps Nkandla children orphaned by faction fights and Aids.
More than 3000 primary and high school pupils have benefitted from the fund. Another 100 students are being sponsored at tertiary level. Forty more have completed their tertiary education and are now contributing financially to the trust.
The celebrations were held at the newly-opened multi-purpose centre in the village.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for social development Meshack Hadebe said the centre was meant to offer food to children on their way to school and senior citizens who had to walk long distances in the past to get help.
The centre, located along a dusty, pot-holed road, also has a crèche and a Department of Home Affairs office where people can apply for social grants, IDs and birth certificates.
The centre also houses offices of social workers.
The department said the centre was opened to bring services closer to the people, as the nearest town is 60km away.