Rescue workers were digging through collapsed homes and other buildings in coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal province, where the death toll stood at 51, local officials said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was visiting the affected region on Wednesday
“This situation calls on all of us to pull together as a country to reach out to affected communities,” he said in a statement.
On Twitter he praised the rescue services for their “rapid response” and said the floods and mudslides have displaced more than 1000 people.
The region has been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not anticipate the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
“As a result there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said, adding some people were swept away by the water.
Multiple dwellings and houses collapsed in the mudslides, said KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman Robert McKenzie.
Some major roads in and around the port city of Durban were closed on Wednesday, local media reported.
Flooding also killed at least three people in the Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said on Wednesday.
Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.
In other news...
South Africa is in a very real battle. A political fight where terms such as truth and democracy can seem more of a suggestion as opposed to a necessity.
On one side of the battle are those openly willing to undermine the sovereignty of a democratic society, completely disregarding the weight and power of the oaths declared when they took office. If their mission was to decrease society’s trust in government - mission accomplished.
And on the other side are those who believe in the ethos of a country whose constitution was once declared the most progressive in the world. The hope that truth, justice and accountability in politics, business and society is not simply fairy tale dust sprinkled in great electoral speeches; but rather a cause that needs to be intentionally acted upon every day.
However, it would be an offensive oversight not to acknowledge that right there on the front lines, alongside whistleblowers and civil society, stand the journalists. Armed with only their determination to inform society and defend the truth, caught in the crossfire of shots fired from both sides.
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