President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday promised a sea of women outside the gates of Parliament that he would address the nation in a "very clear and definite way" on how the government would fight gender-based violence.
"Yes, all of us have had enough of this," he told thousands of protesters calling for intervention on violence against women.
"We are now going to take action."
Initially met with a hostile reception after telling protesters "I know what you are all going through", he was later applauded by the crowd after announcing that he would be addressing the issue in a public address later in the day.
He promised that he would also address the demand for a state of emergency.
"I agree completely that the killing of women must be brought to an end here in SA. We want the men of this country to take responsibility for the slaughtering of the women of our nation. We want the men of our country to stop raping the women of our country," he said.
"We are going to be taking a firm stand. We are essentially drawing a line in the sand to make sure that as a nation and as a government we heighten the protection, defence and the safety of the women of our nation."
This would include measures like harsher penalties for crimes against women, he vowed.
"Because men who rape women, who kill women, do not belong in society. They belong behind bars."
"We will also be advocating and changing the laws so that once you have raped a woman you get life. And life must mean life. If you are arrested for rape or killing a woman, you must get no bail. If you have raped and killed a woman, there should never be any parole."
Ramaphosa said he would on be travelling to the Eastern Cape on Friday to meet with the loved ones of murdered University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana, 19, who was raped and killed by an employee of the Clareinch post office last Monday.
Thousands of women and a number of men dressed in black protested outside the gates of Parliament on Thursday morning.
Among the women who addressed the crowd was Alvina Noch of Mitchells Plain, who told of being raped over a period of eight years, since the age of 15.
She said women have "become bait to men who can't deal with their own issues" while their child victims were not even yet able put their pain into words.
"Enough," she maintained.
Protesters decorated the gates of Parliament with flowers, posters and letters detailing their appeals and experiences.
"I don't want to raise girls in this country," one note read.