South Africa is in the grip of a crisis of violence that demanded urgent action, President Cyril Ramaphosa told the National Assembly. Picture: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Parliament - South Africa is in the grip of a serious crisis of violence and intolerance that demanded urgent action, President Cyril Ramaphosa told the National Assembly on Wednesday.

He said South Africa had become one of the unsafest place on earth for women and the rate of attacks on women, children and babies reflected a wider crisis of violence in the country.

"While it has its own specific causes and features, it reflects a broader crisis of violence in our society."

Ramaphosa said the term gender-based violence was too vague and euphemistic to accurately describe the scourge, and it might be more apt to call it male-perpetrated violence.

He said the statistics, with 113 rapes reported daily, pointed to the magnitude of "despicable and deplorable" violence committed every day by men.

Ramaphosa was addressing a special debate in the chamber.

He promised that "the necessary amendments to our laws and policies to ensure that perpetrators of violence against women and children are brought to book" would be implemented.

Ramaphosa said government had developed an emergency action plan that would be implemented over the next six months.

It will be driven by an interim steering committee located in the presidency, he added.

This included prevention, enhancing the criminal justice system, ensuring better victim support and boosting the economic empowerment of women.

African News Agency (ANA)