Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana was appalled by several recent “monstrous atrocities” against women and children, she said in a statement on Thursday.
She noted with “serious concern” the rape of the baby, and the rape of a four-year-old boy, allegedly by a 17-year-old.
“These acts can only be committed by very sick people,” she said.
The newborn was raped on Tuesday night, allegedly by a 24-year-old man believed to be her uncle.
Xingwana said the government would ensure people accused of rape were not given bail and received harsher sentences, Sapa reported.
“These crimes will under no circumstances be tolerated and [are] totally unacceptable,” she said.
Democratic Alliance spokesman Mike Waters said South African women and children faced intolerably high levels of violence.
National Freedom Party leader Zanele KaMagwaza Msibi said such incidents were an indication that rape in society had taken a turn for the worse.
“No culture, provocation, neglect or mental condition can be used to justify this perverse behaviour,” said spokesman for Cosatu Patrick Craven.
He said violence against women and children had permeated all levels of society.
Congress of the People spokesman Willie Madisha said the party had gone to Galeshewe to support the family and their relatives.
The man accused of raping the baby appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The case was postponed to December 12 for a formal bail application.