Policies must come from the ANC itself, and not its deployees in government, the party's deputy president David "DD" Mabuza said.
Mabuza told guests at a gala dinner in Limpopo, ahead of the province's "January 8" celebrations - marking the liberation movement's 106th year of existence - that power resided with the African National Congress and not in government.
"No minister will wake up one morning and think of policy and announce it. Policy - it's announced by the ANC," said Mabuza to a round of applause in the room.
His comments come just a month after head of state and former ANC president Jacob Zuma announced that he would implement free higher education, without consulting the party.
He did this in spite of a commission that he had put together to look into the feasibility of the move saying it was not feasible.
"We are going to stand firm, now that we are in the leadership of the ANC. The centre must hold," said Mabuza.
He also declared that he would always protect newly-elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, who has the task of turning around the rot that had seeped into the political party and some of the damage the ANC had done to the country over the past decade.
The president is safe. I will protect the president, I will not contradict him.
The ANC deputy president and Mpumalanga premier also shared his thoughts with guests at the event on the scandals that have dominated some of the country's state-owned enterprises.
"You must understand that as the ANC we don't agree with what's happening at Eskom. Therefore, we have sent a clear message to our government that stamp out this tide," he said.
Mabuza said things were not going right in country, and the necessary confidence in South Africans and its investors needed to be built. He asked for the ANC government "must arrest this thing".
No easy route to radical socio-economic transformation
Mabuza questioned the way government handled its payments to business, with small to medium enterprises. He said it shouldn't take 30 days to pay service providers, but instead it should be two days.
Amid asking for donations from the business community in Limpopo for his political party, Mabuza said he was encouraged by some in the 106-year-old liberation movement for demonstrating an understanding of the complex struggle the party was waging against the poverty experienced by majority of South Africans.
"This understanding is critical for all of us in appreciating the costs of the path that we must take and the sacrifices that we must make if we are to be successful," said Mabuza.
He said theirs was a path filled with obstacles, which the party must be prepared to tackle.
"This journey of radical socio-economic transformation is not going to be a smooth journey."