The two girls were attacked with an axe while in their rented house at Ngwangwane village in southern KwaZulu-Natal.
It is alleged that a man in his 20s came into the rented house in the early hours of the morning, hacked the girls to death and mutilated their bodies.
One of the girls’ bodies was left in the house, while the second body was found five kilometres away from the scene.
Khoza expressed shock and disgust at the brutal murder of the two learners.
“We are in pain that these young women had to die like this. The attack on defenceless learners is totally abhorrent and a reflection of the worst form of criminality and decline of morals.
“It is very painful that we start Women’s Month with such a horrific incident. We find solace in the fact that law enforcement agencies quickly arrested the suspect, even though he tried to evade justice,” Khoza said.
She reiterated that all those involved in atrocities did not deserve to stay among peace-loving people.
The continued murder of defenceless women and children is an unfortunate act of criminality, the worst form of criminality, decline of humanity, morality and Ubuntu, she said.
“It should be totally rejected and denounced in the strongest possible terms. We cannot continue like this as a society when we wake up with such horrible crimes daily. These crimes set us backward as this democratic government.
Khoza extended her condolences to the families of the two girls who lost their lives.
The department’s team will provide the family with psychosocial support and extend their services to learners and teachers at the school where the girls were attending.
The police arrested the suspect on Sunday afternoon and he was taken to the scene on Monday afternoon to point out where he had dumped the body of another girl.
However, during the process he jumped into the river and swam across in an attempt to escape.
The police had to call the dog unit for backup which helped in tracing the suspect. Police caught him at a local St Johns Apostolic Faith Mission church house.
Ward 8 Councillor, Mthobisi Dlamini, said the community was reeling in shock at the incident.
Dlamini noted that a number of learners from neighbouring wards and municipalities rent houses in ward 8, to be closer to their schools.
“We have never experienced such a horrific incident. We never slept since this incident happened because we were worried that the criminals would strike again.
“However, the fact that police arrested this man made us happy. We could not sleep when he escaped. We are happy too that the body of the other child was finally found in the early hours of this morning,” he said.