KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC, Nonhlanhla Khoza, says sexual violence, abuse and the murder of women and children are an indication of "high levels of moral decay in society".
This follows the discovery of the bodies of a child and woman in a forest in KwaDabeka F Section in Clermont, west of Durban, on Tuesday.
The community of KwaMashu discovered two lifeless bodies of women in September 2020.
In the same community, four-year-old Saneliswe Mhlongo was found in the bushes last month, and a 15-year-old relative has since been arrested in connection with the murder.
"These harrowing incidents are extremely worrying.
"The pattern of violence and abuse directed at women and children is a serious concern to us. There has been an alarming number of women and children, who have been murdered in the province, which is a clear indication that we have people who have no respect for human life," said Khoza.
Government has adopted a holistic strategy to deal with gender-based violence (GBV), which includes the introduction of several campaigns to safeguard and protect the rights of women and children.
"We have conducted public education and awareness on the protection of women and children's rights. Unfortunately, we continue to see an increase of such cases," Khoza said.
The MEC called for the criminal justice system to ensure that such acts are punished with tough sentences, including the possibility of denying bail.
She called on people to stand together and work with law enforcement agencies to expose the perpetrators, who show a complete disregard for human life and the law.
"We call on all citizens of KwaZulu-Natal to stand shoulder to shoulder to curtail the scourge of gender-based violence, murder and rape of women and children," Khoza said."