Deputy president David Mabuza says government will have a "zero tolerance attitude to crimes against women and children".
"We are gripped by the pain and suffering not as natives nor Africans, but as people, South Africans of a country reborn, black and white, united against the abuse of women and children," Mabuza said.
Mabuza was delivering the keynote address at the National Day of Prayer at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Mabuza said the country was suffering from pain at the hands of men who “grievously abuse the most vulnerable in our society”.
"It is out of their shrilling cries and winches of pain that we register their call that enough is enough."
"Many women are suffering. We may not know them. We may never see them but we know they exist, for violence in our nation has a face, the face of a woman," he said.
He said justice must be done, adding that government must work hard to "enhance the responsiveness of our criminal justice system so that women are protected from all indignities perpetrated against them".
"The ANC as the governing party, is fully committed to gender parity and gender equality as a precondition for economic freedom in our lifetime. We understand that women are the soul and fire, not just of the ANC, but of our nation," he said.
"We have to hear their cries. We have to feel their pain. We have to heal their wounds."