They said neither the High Commissioner in Mozambique nor the Department of International Relations and Cooperation helped and only helped when a team from the Limpopo government flew to the country.
Family spokesman Bongani Diako said: "The absence of the High Commissioner of South Africa, Mandisi Mphahlwa, on this issue to allow families the opportunity to involve him in their frustrations is very disturbing and damaging. Our experience with the embassy was painful, he was far from the situation and offered no assistance. Even when we went to the embassy office in Mozambique to request transportation assistance, we were waiting for over an hour. We did not get help. We were using taxis to travel, we basically had to find the way while searching. "
The tragedy occurred when eight friends from Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northwest traveled to Mozambique as part of a birthday party last week, swimming in the sea and four were swept away.
The bodies of Lesego Matsepe, Mmatholo Mogafe and David Kaise were recovered on Thursday, while Gregory Mfune's body appeared on Friday.
Diako said families were told their loved ones drowned as a result of strong tides.
"We hoped that the rights of South Africans would remain guaranteed, no matter where they were in the world. We were faced with a situation where we had to coordinate and fund the daily search missions on our own. "
Dirco spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya said the Limpopo provincial department and government helped families when a team was set up to help them cope with the trauma.
"The High Commissioner has appointed staff to help. He is in the north on mission. We as a government do not pay anything related to the ransom. The rescue was led by Mozambique. "
He said a special team, which consisted of social workers and psychologists, helped bereaved family members and surviving friends.
"The survivors are on their way home, except one who came back two days ago for medical care," Mabaya said.
The bodies of the four are expected to be repatriated to South Africa on Monday.