JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- South African Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana on Tuesday led a demonstration outside the Pretoria Magistrate Court, uring prosecutors to deny bail to paralympian Oscar Pistorius.
The minister said gender-based violence taking place in the country "must stop".
During the court's proceeding to hear Pistorius bail application, Xingwana and a group of women protested outside the court, calling for justice to be done in the murder case of Pistorius charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14.
"We have come here to support the family of Reeva Steenkamp whose young life was so cruelly taken away from us on day that is dedicated to love. As we think about Reeva Steenkamp, we must boldly declare with one united voice, that the spate of gender based violence taking place across the length and breadth of our land must stop," Xingwana said.
The protest was led by the ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) Women's League and supported by community based women pressure groups.
"We are here to communicate a clear and unequivocal message that violence against women will not be tolerated in our free and democratic society," the minister added.
The minister took the event to speak against domestication of guns in South Africa. She said South Africa need to wage a sustained and effective campaign against the availability of guns in the homes. The reality is that Steenkamp would have been alive if there was no gun in Pistorius' s house, she said.
"This tragedy is a vocal call to our nation to intensify gun control in order to protect the lives of women and children."
Protestors said they are confident that criminal justice system will do everything in its power to ensure that Steenkamp and other victims of crime get justice.
"We have confidence that those found guilty of this heinous crime will face the full wrath of our criminal justice system, irrespective of their stature in society, "Xingwana said.
The minister called for "heaviest possible sentence" against Pistorius and those found guilty of women and child abuse in South Africa.
"This will send a clear message to all would-be perpetrators that our society and justice system will not tolerate these crimes," she said, adding that South Africans must be concerned at the growing reports of women who continue to die at the hands of their partners.
The court postponed hearing Pistorius bail application till Wednesday.