The president was reacting to five days of unrest and protests in parts of the country owing to violence against women and children, and xenophobic attacks bedevilling parts of Gauteng Province.
Some 10 people – eight South Africans and two foreign nationals – have been confirmed dead in running battles between police and the xenophobic attackers, the police said on Thursday.
Ramaphosa called on men in the country to end the scourge of violence against women and children in the country. “We have heard the calls of the women of our country,” he said.
“The collective anger, fear and pain must strengthen our resolve to end all forms of violence perpetrated by men," Ramaphosa said in his much anticipated televised address to the nation on Thursday night.
He added: "All crimes against women and children should attract harsher sentences. A life sentence against men who perpetrate violence against women must mean life."