South Africa needs a second transition otherwise it would remain stagnant like many other African countries after independance, ANC leader Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.
"We need a second transition, we cannot stay here," he told hundreds of party delegates at the Free State elective conference.
Zuma said many African countries never moved forward after independence.
"If we do not discuss the second transition I do not know how we would handle the problems we have now."
He said the ANC would always be a disciplined force biased to the poor and the working class.
Many of the country's programmes flowed from a negotiated settlement, which might be redundant.
The ANC leader said the second transition must come to address the legacies of apartheid.
The ANC must bring a difference to its people and the party does not have to be loved to do what it thinks was right.
"The time has come to do what we think is right to make the majority happy. The second transition is the right thing."
Zuma asked those who were against it what their alternative was.
The second transition related to a key discussion document for the ANC's national policy conference, which was expected to begin on Tuesday.
'The Second Transition: Building a national democratic society and the balance of forces in 2012', suggests the ANC must now enter a second era of democracy.
According to the document, in the past 18 years the ANC has gone through a first transition into democracy, where it focused on political emancipation.
Now the party needed to introduce a "second transition" that focused on the social and economic transformation of South Africa over the next 30 to 50 years.
In apparent reaction to doubts from senior ANC NEC members regarding the matter, Zuma said it was impossible for any NEC member to not know of the "second transition".
"It was not possible," he said.
He said the NEC discussed the document three times.
The ANC must also look at where it wanted to go, he said.
"Mangaung must help to get a renewed ANC."
Zuma said a ten-year programme to renew the ANC was necessary and needed to be approved.
"If we fail to deal with discipline, we fail the ANC," he said.
Zuma, who concentrated a lot on discipline in his speech, said no one should be allowed to erode the unity in the ANC.
Referring to recent happenings within the ruling party, Zuma said the Mangaung conference would take firm decisions on discipline.
He said those who were bending the ANC constitution for selfish aims must be dealt with and non-conforming ANC politicians would find it "cold out there", outside the ANC.
It was apparent he enjoyed huge support at the Free State conference.
He ended his speech with: "I am happy, very happy to close the conference," with a big smile, before he led two songs.