Former World Bank director Mamphela Ramphele says not only the privileged few but the majority of South Africans should benefit from broad-based black economic empowerment.
She said BBBEE needed to be "redesigned" so that the political freedom won in 1994 can begin to have meaning.
Ramphele was speaking in Cape Town yesterday at the launch of a new BBBEE deal between JP Morgan Worldwide Securities Services South Africa and the Tertiary School in Business Administration, a private nonprofit business leadership school for disadvantaged students.
JP Morgan handed over 15percent of the shares in its South African company as part of a BBBEE deal aimed at benefitting business students at the school.
Ramphele said BBBEE had had many negative and unintended consequences.
"If you are building a nation and you decide to use criteria to give benefits to one side and not to the other, even though you are correcting the legacy of the past, it is a dilemma. That doesn't mean we should stop doing it. But how do we become nonracial and nonsexist when the BBBEE codes re-emphasise the importance of categories?
"Some companies even subdivide the black population into sub-categories, so how black you are becomes a huge problem."
Ramphele approves of President Jacob Zuma's extended cabinet, saying he "was responding to the reality".
She said: "There is no benchmark anywhere in the world about the number of ministers a government needs to have."
She also supports the splitting of the education ministry
"There is no doubt that the education ministry is too big and the branch for higher education too small in relation to the challenges we faced.
And it was always headed by somebody junior," Ramphele said.