The South African government has condemned the recent spate of killings and abuse of women and children across the country, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
Several cases of murder and abuse have been reported in the media recently, including the murder of a woman by her 14-year-old son, the brutal killing of a 30-year-old Bryanston woman, who was allegedly stabbed about 50 times, and the rape and killing of a 24-year-old Ventersdorp woman, apparently for being a lesbian.
The Minister conveyed condolences on behalf of government, to the families and friends of the victims.
"Government is saddened by these incidents, and the loss of life is one too many. Government alone cannot completely address this scourge as it is a societal issue and requires an even more strengthened effort and synergy by all South Africans," said Minister Muthambi on Monday.
She added that violence based on gender and sexual orientation will not be tolerated by government, adding that law enforcement agencies will continue to enforce the rule of law.
"Government is reiterating President Jacob Zuma's call to society, communities, inter-faith groups, business, and every sector of this country's community to work with government to tackle social ills. It is crimes of this nature that ruin the strides that we have made as a country in building a just society.
"It is also unfortunate that these crimes are happening in Women's Month, when South Africa is supposed to be celebrating the gains that have been made by women. Government will, however, not be deterred by these incidents and will continue fighting the scourge of women and children abuse," said the Minister.
She said government has put in place key pieces of legislation to protect the rights of women and children against violence.
"The most prominent of these are the Domestic Violence Act, the Children's Act and the Criminal law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Act," she said.
In April 2014, government launched the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons programme to ensure that discrimination based on anyone of the prohibited grounds outlined in Section 9 of the Constitution will simply not be tolerated.
The Minister said the justice system will respond harshly to perpetrators of such discriminatory behaviour.
"Whilst government acknowledges the prompt response by law enforcement agencies, the onus is placed on every individual to report criminal cases and protect our women and children," said Minister Muthambi.