“We gather to mark the work of volunteers and servicemen who have dedicated their lives to serve the people of SA,” the premier said.
Zikalala commended the team for demonstrating courage and observed a moment of silence for people who died in the floods, including rescue workers who also lost their lives while trying to help others.
“We want to thank you for crossing rivers and climbing mountains in search of the missing people. We are grateful for all the sacrifices you have made and celebrate you as heroes and heroines,” Zikalala said.
The premier said the search and rescue efforts were still under way, with six teams searching for the people still missing and unaccounted for. He encouraged the team to continue with “their important work”.
“I want to commend all of you who didn't want to wait for the national call. Most of you came even before this was declared a national state of disaster,” he said.
The premier said coping with the scale and magnitude of the flood was beyond the capabilities of the province.
“Go out there and continue to bring smiles to children and mothers — and all those who are still confused by all of this,” Zikalala said.
He thanked all the provinces, embassies and organisations who had sent messages of support.
Meanwhile, eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has appealed to people not to embark on violent protests when demanding to be reconnected to services.