“We must lead by example in showing women respect and decency. We must be positive role models to our sons and our daughters,” the President said.
He was speaking on Wednesday at a Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.
The President called for a Joint Sitting to focus the attention of the elected public representatives and the nation at large on the crisis of gender-based violence and femicide.
According to the President, South Africa is one of the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman, with levels of violence that are comparable to countries that are at war.
“The women and children of this country are under siege. There is a very violent and brutal war underway against the women of South Africa,” the President said.
Last year, 2 700 women and over 1 000 children died at the hands of another person. Every single day the police receive over 100 cases of reported rape.
Research by Statistics South Africa shows that one in five South African women older than 18 has experienced physical violence by a partner.
“Many years ago, South Africa was swept by a revolution in how black people thought about themselves and about their place in society.
“I believe we are living through another such a revolution in consciousness today, but this time it concerns the injustices under which women have long laboured,” President Ramaphosa said.
The President said protests driven by women and young people, these past few weeks, have broken a spell.
“We have the means to end violence against women and children. Now is the time to unite to turn the tide,” he said.
He encouraged all Members of Parliament and all political parties to work together in addressing GBV.
“We must realise the spirit of our Constitution. The rights of women and men alike must be protected,” the President said.