If South Africa is to achieve social cohesion some people cannot continue feeling superior to others, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Wednesday.
"It is very divisive when a minority wants to be treated separately to the majority," she told the national social cohesion summit in Soweto, Johannesburg.
For real social cohesion, equality must be understood and practised, she said.
"It doesn't augur well if there are people who still feel superior to others... There are people who still feel superior by the mere fact that they belong to a different race."
Earlier, Freedom Front Plus MP Corne Mulder called for a ministry for minority affairs.
Dlamini-Zuma called for increased state participation.
"The state must not be a passive state... because you can't transform with a state that is standing by and leaving everything to uncertain markets. Markets cannot transform society."
The summit was being held in Kliptown, where 3000 delegates of all races met in 1955 to draft the Freedom Charter, which calls for a non-racial South Africa that belongs to all who live in it.
Delegates explored the role of the judiciary, Parliament, political parties and traditional leaders, among others, in building an inclusive society.
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said independence of the judiciary was guaranteed by the Constitution.
"As a government we have no intention of interfering with its independence."
He said the establishment of an Office of the Chief Justice was the first step towards the total independence of the judiciary.
Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, whose department was hosting the two-day event, said the summit would not be a mere talk shop.
"Out of it must come decisive steps," he said. These included a clear plan of action to heal the wounds of the past and strengthen social cohesion.
Political parties, business leaders, and civil society and government representatives attended the summit.
Among them were National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu, former Speaker Frene Ginwala, and Zanele Mbeki, wife of former president Thabo Mbeki.
The summit's theme is: "Working together to create a proud and caring society".
President Jacob Zuma first called for such a summit in 2009.