This is contained in policy discussion documents released by the party on Sunday before its June policy conference.
Branches now have to engage on the documents.
Minister in the Presidency and ANC head of policy Jeff Radebe said the rift between leaders and the South African people was worrying.
He said the “social distance between leaders and members, widespread corruption, poor performance in government and abuse of organisational processes for personal gain” could lead to the demise of the party.
He added: “The ANC is increasingly losing the trust of the people, as illustrated by declining electoral performance and intense public criticism. The organisation must act urgently to restore its moral character, to win back the trust of the people and ensure that the ANC is structured optimally to remain the leader of the forces for change.”
In the elections in August last year, the party lost major metropolitan areas because of waning support, and according to the policy document, one of the ways to improve the trust between leaders and the people would be through the open contestation of elections.
The party proposes that the size of the national executive committee be reduced and “that the organisation must limit the number of NEC members who serve in the government, and ensure that ANC leaders are spread throughout all sectors of society”.
Radebe said the ANC also wanted to establish “integrity and ethics management at all levels of government”.
He said: “The scope of this office must extend to the state-owned enterprises (SOEs). There is a specific call for lifestyle audits of senior public servants within the context of the fight against corruption.”
In terms of education, the party proposes that technical and vocational training be marketed as the first after-school choice for school-leavers, before university education.
The party also wants a new financial support model that will cater for “working class and middle strata students” by 2020.
This year, a ministerial task team on higher education is piloting the Ikusasa Financial Aid Scheme for middle strata students.
If successful, it is expected to be implemented widely by 2019.
Other proposals include:
A targeted programme to assist black entrepreneurs set up small businesses and co-operatives.
Better regulation of the private sector to avoid price-fixing, unfair competition and unfair labour practises.
Strengthening of the Presidency as the strategic centre of power in the state, and for it to drive the National Development Plan, planning and policy and resource allocation.
On the land issue, the policy document states that a process for updated land legislation should be accelerated.
“The success of land redistribution will be improved if there is greater oversight over land, farming equipment and technical skills transfer to the beneficiaries of land reform,” it says.