Zuma was leading a high-powered government delegation at an anti-crime imbizo in Elsies River, where he advised people to start street committees to keep communities safe.
Addressing a packed Adriaanse community hall, Zuma said anti-crime committees “are needed in our blocks, streets and communities”.
“We have come to Elsies River to express our outrage and say enough is enough,” Zuma said, adding he believed violence against women and children could be eradicated if communities worked together with law enforcement.
People showed up in their numbers to air their grievances with the president.
Elsies River was rocked recently by the rape and murder of three-year-old Courtney Pieters whose little body was found buried in a shallow grave in Epping more than a week after she disappeared from her Pluto Street home.
The president had a private briefing with Elsies River SAPS before the imbizo.
He arrived at Adriaanse hall at 2pm, to loud cheers from residents.
Hundreds of people received parcels filled with two fruits, water and a pakkie chips.
Inside, people sang the national anthem, accompanied by the SAPS Band.
In the wake of Courtney’s death, which saw the family’s boarder, Mortimer Saunders, 40, arrested for her murder, Zuma visited the family and promised the community he would return to look at the challenges of crime and how law enforcement authorities could improve their services.
The president again expressed his shock at Courtney’s murder.
“I was shocked to learn that a man who lived with this child in her home could do this to her,” he said.
“I was shocked when her father told me that the man broke every bone in Courtney’s body, to squeeze her into a packet.
“I felt I needed to go to the police station and ask them why they didn’t act immediately.
“We need to work with the community at least to do one thing that will make a contribution to reduce crime.
“An injury to my neighbour is an injury to me.”
Zuma said crime was a cancer that needed to be rooted out of communities.
“Courtney’s story, as cruel as it is, is not an isolated incident,” he said.
“The police are doing their best but they need the support of the community to solve and stop the crimes.”
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula last week unveiled a satellite police station in the area.
Mbalula, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini, as well as the Deputy Minister of Sport, Gert Oosthuizen, attended the imbizo.
A fiery Mbalula said: “Minister Dlamini is here to make sure we intervene with those who are at risk of joining gangs.
“The Deputy Minister of Sports is also here because children need to play and be filled with happiness.
“We are not going to rest on our laurels and dance like KC & JoJo. We are going to squeeze the criminals.”
Imraahn Mukaddam, of the Elsies River CPF, thanked the President for coming.
“Because of Courtney being murdered in that dark room, you came to listen to us today,” he said.
“But Mr President, you forgot someone today... you forgot the Minister of Labour because we need more jobs.
“We don’t need more police, we need more social workers in our communities, so thank you, Ms Dlamini for coming.”
Jacobus Solomons from Sector Four Police Forum accused police of brutality and being on gangs’ payrolls.
“How can we, who are the ears for the police, work with police when they are being paid by gangsters?” he asked.
“Police do raids in the area but beat up people when they don’t find drugs on them.
“When the community go and complain about police at the police station, they don’t take the complaints.”