A "heartbroken" and "disappointed" deputy minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana apologised to South Africans on Saturday after assaulting two women at a night club two weeks ago.
Manana recently tendered his resignation.
In a statement addressing South Africans, Manana, who did not initially resign after admitting to hitting the women, said there was no excuse for his actions. He said he was seeking professional help to "emerge as a stronger and better improved person".
He still wished to serve the public, he said.
"You [South Africans] have every right to be angry at me and I deserve your anger in this matter because no matter how you look at it, it was wrong in every way. To this extent, I am sorry. I take all accountability and I promise that this will never happen again."
Manana said he was heartbroken and disappointed in myself "as a leader in our great nation".
"The unfortunate situation that unfolded in the past two weeks, has left me exposed. My true sense of leadership in that situation was tested and I failed the test dismally."
He said there was "no excuse in the world to ever justify what I have done". He said women abuse was a serious issue.
"It is about all the women of our nation who go through abuse daily in the hands of men - people who should lead them and protect them."
Manana said that he spent a great deal of time reflecting on his actions.
"I have spent a lot of time reflecting on this. Reflecting on my role in it and how I can make things right - for the women I have done wrong to and of course to the nation at large who expect more from me as a leader."
He said stepping down from his position in government would give him time to focus on the legal proceedings of his case pending before the Randburg Magistrate's Court.
"A responsible leader is one who takes responsibility and acts with agility on the face of a crisis. In this instance, I choose to put my country first and not allow a bad shadow to haunt the workings of government during this period."
Apology to the ANC
Manana said he was also apologetic to the ANC, which he had joined 15 years ago as a volunteer.
"[The party] has suffered greater harm as a result of this incident and I cannot expose my organisation to further harm."
He said he would reflect on why he acted in the manner that he did and then address any underlying issues that prompted his actions.
"I believe this is the right thing to do, for the country, for my organisation and for me. Going forward, I have started seeking professional help so that I emerge as a stronger and better improved person."
He indicated that he would want to continue to serve the public.
"I have to deal with this problem so that I can continue serving my people as an effective member and leader of our community in every way. I further undertake to offer all assistance possible to the families I did wrong and again I am sorry. I will act dutifully and diligently with all law enforcement agencies who assist with the matter."
He went on to thank the ANC and Zuma for his support throughout his term of office.
"The work we have done and are continuing to do in taking our country forward is paramount and I am glad to have been part of that exciting yet crucial journey of improving the livelihoods of our people for the better. I would also like to thank my family for their support, both during my tenure as a member of the National Executive, and in arriving at this decision."
Zuma said on Saturday he had accepted Manana's resignation.
Manana had admitted to the assault of two women at the Cubana nightclub in Fourways, Johannesburg recently.
He appeared in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday and was released on R5 000 bail. He faces two charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
In a cellphone recording of Manana talking to one of the victims' brothers shortly after the assault, Manana says he slapped the woman because she called him gay.
Manana claimed he had been "extremely provoked".