The ANC must not always use its majority power in Parliament to push through laws, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said, according to a report on Friday.
Motlanthe said the ANC should use the art of persuasion to win debates, SABC News reported.
"Because if it relies on superior numbers, message communicated is that they will be dealt with short thrift by ANC. And the ANC will become ordinary. South Africans will choose to associate without parties," Motlanthe said.
Motlanthe was speaking at the Harold Wolpe Lecture at Liliesleaf Farm in Johannesburg on Thursday night.
The public broadcaster reported that Motlanthe also questioned the language and the message in some of the ANC's policy discussion documents.
Questioning the ANC's relationship with its alliance partner the SA Communist Party, he said: "Does the ANC need the SACP? The answer is no."
Wolpe was arrested and jailed with hundreds of others after the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre.