QwaQwa - President Jacob Zuma has appealed to all South Africans to work together to prevent the abuse of women and children.
"I would like to appeal to the country to work together to prevent cases of abuse, to ensure that perpetrators face the full might of the law and that survivors get the support needed for them to deal with the trauma," said Zuma.
He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, which aims raise an awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to act against abuse.
President Zuma said that though South Africans had one of the best Constitutions in the world, there was still violence being perpetrated against women and children.
"Let us work for a South Africa where women and children can walk the streets of our country with no fear of being attacked. Let us ensure that all our people enjoy freedom, security and respect for their human rights."
Zuma was received by the crowds gathered at the University of Free State campus with much excitement, with the sound of songs and vuvuzelas ringing out.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya and Social Development Minister Edna Molewa, as well as religious and traditional leaders, non-profit organisations and residents of Qwa-Qwa filled the hall and a marquee to capacity.
Zuma said while the campaign had done a lot to highlight the issue of abuse, challenges still remained in implementation as well as in transforming social attitudes and harmful practices that manifest themselves negatively against women and the girl child.
Another obstacle in the pursuit of women's rights and gender equality, was the prevailing attitude regarding the place of women in society and the different notions of what it meant to be a man, he said.
The President added that the fight against the abuse of women and children should be a 365-day event.
The 16 Days of Activism campaign officially ended when the Torch of Peace, which was lit at the Union Buildings at the start of the 16-day period, was handed over to the Department of Transport for the duration of the festive season.
The President said that Cabinet had directed law enforcement agencies to put women and children high on the agenda of policing during this season.