(CNN)Early on Sunday morning, the mutilated body of a 42-year-old woman was found in Eersterust, a middle-class township in Pretoria, South Africa.
Two days earlier, residents in the Soweto township of Johannesburg discovered the body of another young woman under a tree. And just over a week ago, a heavily pregnant 28-year-old was found hanging from a tree on the outskirts of Johannesburg.
The three women were among the latest victims in a surge of violence against women in South Africa which the country's president has described as a "pandemic.
"As a man, as a husband, and as a father, I am appalled at what is no less than a war being waged against the women and the children of our country," said President Cyril Ramaphosa in a nationwide television address Wednesday.
More than 20 women and children have been murdered in South Africa in recent weeks, he added. "These women are not just statistics, they have names, they have families and friends," he said as he read out the names of the victims.
In an earlier statement on Saturday, he said the killings show that perpetrators have "descended to even greater depths of cruelty and callousness."
South Africa has one of the highest femicide rates anywhere in the world. More than 2,700 South African women and 1,000 children were killed last year, according to police figures.