“This is a humanitarian disaster that calls for a massive and urgent relief effort,” he said in a televised address. “The lives, health, and well-being of thousands of people are still at risk.”
“The Port of Durban which is one of the largest and busiest shipping terminals on the continent and which is vital to our country’s economy has been severely affected,” he said.
At least 443 people have died, with 48 still missing, around the east coast city of Durban, the president said.
Some badly damaged areas remain inaccessible, he added, including 16 schools that are completely cut off.
Ramaphosa said the government would create a special oversight body that will include the auditor-general, business and religious groups, as well as professional associations of engineers and accountants to oversee additional resources that are channel to help rebuild.
Earlier Monday, the military said 10,000 troops were deployed to help restore power and water and search for the missing.
But hopes for finding the missing were fading.
For the hundreds of bodies that have been found, damaged roads and waterlogged cemeteries made burials difficult.