The death toll from floods and mudslides in South Africa has risen to 51, a local official said on Wednesday. President Cyril Ramaphosa flew into the deluged eastern region of the country. "Unfortunately the numbers have risen to 51. In previous years we have tried to remove people from low-lying areas," a regional minister, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, told SA FM radio. Heavy rains have lashed South Africa in recent days, with the southern and eastern parts of the country badly hit since the start of Easter weekend. Ramaphosa said that during times like these we should work together to reach out to affected communities. "Our hearts go out particularly to families and communities who have been directly affected by death, injury and the loss of property," Ramaphosa said in a statement. "This situation calls on all of us to pull together as a country to reach out to affected communities," Ramaphose added. Rescuers continue to comb debris for those who might be trapped underneath landslides. South African military personnel have been dispatched to help rescue and evacuation efforts.