President Jacob Zuma Picture: Jacques Naude/ANA Pictures

In a statement from the Presidency, Zuma expressed shock and repulsion at the gruesome killing of little Courtney and reiterated that violence against women and children has been declared a priority crime and that government would deploy all its resources to ensure that perpetrators face the full might of the law.

“We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the Pieters family and to all other families of the women who have been brutally murdered or attacked in various ways in the past few days in parts of the country.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with the families during this difficult period. The incidents have caused untold pain amongst South Africans and this is the time for us to unite and isolate these cruel perpetrators of this shameful and hateful crime against women and children,” Zuma said in a statement.