Nobel peace prize winner Desmond Tutu has warned that South African poverty could lead to social unrest.
Archbishop Tutu has been feted for weeks leading to his 75th birthday
In a BBC interview to mark his 75th birthday, the former Archbishop of Cape Town said those who had not benefited from the end of apartheid would demand their share of the "freedom dividend".
Archbishop Tutu played a prominent role in the campaign to end apartheid.
In the past several weeks he has given a series of warnings about the dangers South Africa faces.
In an interview with the BBC's Alan Little, he said South Africa faces a new moral crisis in the shape of violent crime.
"People have turned freedom into licence," Archbishop Tutu said, "and forget that freedom has its obverse - responsibility and obligation".
Referring to the violent robbery of a van transporting cash, in which the guards had been burned alive, he said: "You have to ask why, when you have got your loot you have to gratuitously kill. There must be something that has happened to us."
In a speech last week Archbishop Tutu blamed the apartheid system of racial segregation, which ended 12 years ago, for damaging South Africans' moral sense.
But he has not spared the country's current leaders. He opposes ex-Vice President Jacob Zuma becoming president due to his "moral failings".
Mr Zuma's presidential aspirations received a major boost earlier this month after corruption charges were dropped against him. He was acquitted earlier this year on a rape charge.
And Mr Tutu told one audience the country was "sitting on a powder keg" because the gap between rich and poor is widening and some of the very rich are now black.
"We need to be very careful that the poor don't begin to say 'where is the freedom dividend?'" he said.
"I am very surprised that it has taken them so long to vent their anger and their impatience."