Durban - KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu on Saturday called on South Africans to celebrate the life of Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa.
"Let us not be here to mourn his passing but to celebrate the life of an Umlazi-born hero," he told thousands of mourners at Meyiwa's funeral service at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Mchunu described Meyiwa as "a giant amongst us".
Meyiwa was shot and killed on Sunday evening in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, while visiting his singer girlfriend Kelly Khumalo. Two men allegedly entered the house demanding cellphones and shot him before fleeing.
At the funeral service, Meyiwa's supporters cheered wildly each time his image was shown on big screens around the stadium.
Mchunu announced that the province would be launching a soccer academy and the family would be approached for permission to name it after Meyiwa.
"We want more Senzo Meyiwas to emerge from that academy."
He said the province and country were dealt a heavy blow with Meyiwa's death.
"Indeed a great tree has fallen," said Mchunu.
He had a stern warning for criminals, saying they would not be allowed to ruin the harmony that existed within society. "We condemn in the strongest way possible the perpetrators of this crime," Mchunu said. "Criminals are not in control, we are. We will continue to fight them. Don't panic, criminals know where they belong."