ANC national executive committee member Tony Yengeni, who was found guilty of fraud in 2003 in a case linked to the controversial arms deal, is heading up a working group on crime and corruption at the ANC's election manifesto workshop.
Earlier President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ANC could no longer expect South Africans to vote for his political party based on sentiments.
Ramaphosa was delivering the opening address at the workshop, held in Irene, Tshwane.
The party is holding consultations among some of its members, civic organisations, political analysts, economists and some members of the Fees Must Fall movement in the hope of carving an "inclusive" manifesto which it can sell to South Africans ahead of the 2019 elections.
"We can no longer count on our people to vote for the ANC because the ANC led the process of liberation for our people," said Ramaphosa.
He said people would put their trust in the governing party once more, based on what it had previously done and promised to do for citizens.
"The advantage we have above other parties is that the ANC has a demonstrable record of uniting South Africans," Ramaphosa said.
He added that the 106-year-old liberation movement was building a nation that its forebears had imagined.
'Do not hold back'
Ramaphosa also said South Africans were seeing the ANC push in an effort to end state capture and corruption, and to restore state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to financial health.
State capture has placed Ramaphosa's predecessor Jacob Zuma at the heart of an alleged network which has stolen billions of South African taxpayers' money. He is also accused of giving the infamous Gupta family undue influence over some of his key decisions while he was in office, including operations at SOEs.
Zuma, who also attended the workshop, has largely been blamed by some in the party for its loss of support over the years. This includes losing control of the City of Johannesburg, Tshwane and the Nelson Mandela Bay municipalities.
"Our people are not despondent. They are hopeful about the future. The manifesto must therefore transport our people to the future they yearn for," said the president.
He said there was renewed hope in the country.
"If you think certain statements will hurt the leadership of the ANC, please do not hold back."
The president called on participants to be as open and direct as possible with leaders in the political party.
Among the other working groups that participants would be split into, was one looking into land issues, which would be chaired by member Ronald Lamola, and one into economic transformation. This will be chaired by David Masondo.
Naledi Pandor will chair a working group on education and training. The groups will deliberate on numerous issues which the political party needs to tackle at the one-day workshop.