Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille on Thursday called on communities to join hands with government in the fight against gender-based violence in their communities.
"Government alone cannot deal with the scourge of violence directed at women and children. Our women and children are under attack and South Africa is bleeding," de Lille said.
Speaking at an event organised by the department in support of the fight against gender-based violence in Salvakop, Pretoria, de Lille said South Africans are sick and tired of violence directed at women and children.
"We have to build a South Africa where women feel safe, safe in their homes, safe at work, in schools, safe in the university dorms, safe at post offices and safe everywhere.
"Government has enough plans, we have policies, we have a good Constitution, we have good laws and the time has come to enforce those laws strongly and to design a programme of action like we are doing now," de Lille said.
She said it is also time for political leaders to revisit all communities where there are many incidents of gender-based violence and femicide and to do whatever they can to fight the scourge.
"We cannot be lacklustre in our delivery, people are crying out for help, women are dying. The more we wait, the more we delay, the more women are exposed and possibly face the fate of being added as another name to that dreadful list.
"We must remember that many women are mothers and often they have to flee an abusive relationship with their children to ensure that they can protect their children from the abuser," de Lille said.
Prior to the formal programme, Minister de Lille handed over a building in Salvakop to Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to be used as a refuge for abused women and children.
De Lille said her department has started the process of identifying unused and underutilised buildings to turn them into shelters and safe houses for victims of gender-based violence.
Also speaking, Minister Zulu said there are many more cases of sexual offences and other violations of women and girls that go unreported.
"Such cases go unreported, covered up and too often the perpetrators go free while the victims and survivors suffer life-long trauma.
"This is a society steeped in patriarchal attitudes that blame the victims and survivors of GBVF, not the perpetrators," Zulu said.
Zulu said her department had reprioritised R93 million to appoint social workers to specifically work with centres such as the Thuthuzela Care Centres and victim friendly facilities.
"We need to strengthen partnerships with civil society organisations and the private sector to maximise the impact of our interventions," the Minister said.
The two ministers also proceeded to light a torch for the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.