Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has issued a stern warning to those who perpetrate violence against women and children.
The presidential frontrunner also urged parents to be mindful of their children's education.
"To harm our children is to destroy their innocence, to destroy their future and to weaken our social fabric," he said.
"Those who are killing our young people are killing the future of our country... We call on all members of the community to work with the police to bring those responsible for these murders to justice."
He was speaking at the launch of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation's Thari Programme for women and children in Botshabelo near Bloemfontein on Friday.
"Looking after them [children] means that we don't only look after them at school, or in the classroom; it does not mean that we only look after them at home. It means we look after our children comprehensively," he said.
"Wherever our children are, as parents, we must pay attention and care for how they are being looked after and how we are bringing them up."
'Our children not born to be terrorised'
He also warned about the use of drugs and of teenagers joining "violent gangs".
"Our children were not born to be terrorised and they were not born to terrorise our communities... We are prepared to achieve the dreams of the young people in this community," he said.
"There is unemployment, inequality and grinding poverty. Our children are caught up in this whole situation and that is the challenge that we face. It is in this situation that we have got to protect our children from."
Ramaphosa labelled teachers who sexually abuse pupils as a national disgrace. He said 1 million new pupils join schools throughout the country every year and at the end of the 12-year period, half of them have dropped out.
"We must refuse to be numbed into feelings of powerlessness. We must refuse to feel that there is nothing we can do to change this situation. This is a time for vision, and this is the time for courage," he said.