CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday condemned the recent spate of violent crime in South Africa, particularly against women and children.
He called for a universal response to combat the scourge.
The president said South Africa should not lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the population is peaceful, caring and law-abiding.
Zuma also called on Traditional leaders to help government rebuild the country's moral fibre.
Earlier on Thursday, he opened the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament, Cape Town.
He dedicated most of his address to violence against women children.
Citing an increase in the number of families living without a father figure, Zuma called on traditional leaders to teach young men to respect females.
He said the role of a father is vital in families as they are often the disciplinarian.
Zuma said the number of fathers who are absent but still alive increased by more than five percent between 1996 and 2010.
The president said research showed black families had the lowest proportion of present fathers at 31 percent, while Indian families had the highest.
He said factors like poverty and unemployment may well play a role in the high levels of absenteeism, but added it was not an excuse for men to neglect their parental responsibilities.
South Africa has seen a spike in incidents of violence which has been attributed to a breakdown in family values.
Since the start of this year, the country has been rocked by a spate of gang-rapes, murders and alleged police brutality.
Earlier this week, a video featuring two children having sex in the back of a classroom went viral in the Western Cape.
The pupils have since been expelled.
In February, Western Cape teenager Anene Booysen was gang-raped, mutilated and murdered.
Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia died in police custody after he was handcuffed behind a police van and dragged through the street of Daveyton on Gauteng’s East Rand.