Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has urged men not turn a blind eye to violence against women and children.
"[I hope men] will take it upon themselves ... not to just talk against violence, but to do something concrete and positive in their communities to contribute to the collective effort to build a society that protects and respects the rights of women and children," said Motlanthe.
"Two weeks ago, when we marked International Men's Day, I was encouraged by the pledge by men in many organisations to strive towards becoming role models through behaviour and practices that uphold the dignity of young girls and women."
He said he was confident that the country was making progress in influencing men to stop treating women and children as objects of abuse and violence.
Motlanthe was addressing the closing ceremony of the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children and the launch of the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence, in Rustenburg.
He said although the campaign was coming to an end, it did not mean that the fight against this type of violence should as well. The country's experience and understanding of the importance of human rights should enable it to build a strong institutional and constitutional framework to protect such rights.
"We all need to take responsibility to protect this framework, and at the same time, implement programmes and interventions that contribute to the attainment of our vision of a caring and proud society," Motlanthe said.
"The fact that we observe these 16 days serves as the strongest sign that more still needs to be done by all of us to truly render this form of abuse obsolete and to ensure that violence has no place in a civilised and humane society."
He said government had been working with all parties involved to implement various institutional measures. This included rolling out and sustaining initiatives which informed and raised awareness among communities; developing strategies and interventions to address weaknesses within the system which supported those whose rights had been violated; and getting citizens to contribute to the fight against violence against women and children.
Motlanthe said Women, Children, and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana would establish a National Council Against Gender-Based Violence. "This is indeed a positive step that will allow us to work in unison and in a co-ordinated fashion.
"We are very mindful, however, that the problem of the abuse of women and children can never be confined to specific campaigns and commemorative days," he said.
The 16 days reminded people that they could not be complacent or indifferent, and to intensify efforts in fighting the abuse of women and children. – Sapa