Bafana Bafana

Senzo Meyiwa laid to rest

2014-11-01 21:01
Senzo Meyiwa (Gallo Images)
Durban - Slain Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa was laid to rest in Durban on Saturday.

Thousands of people braved the rain to pay their last respects. While in excess of 20 000 people packed Durban's Moses Mabhida stadium, several thousand more lined the streets of Durban along the route to his final resting place in Heroes Acre in the Chesterville cemetery.

From early in the morning mourners began converging on the stadium in a colourful assortment of clothes and club regalia. Several had driven from Gauteng to attend the service including Bongani "Mzekebhaka" Tshabalala, who carried a poster calling for former national police commissioner Bheki Cele to be reinstated.

Tshabalala said: "I believe... he (Cele) can be given a chance. He's a man who doesn't take nonsense.

"This accident tells me Bheki Cele must take over. This crime must come to an end."

Tshabalala, who is the chairperson of the Orlando Pirates supporters club in Katlehong, said that since Cele had left office, statistics showed that crime was on the increase.

Meyiwa was shot and killed on Sunday evening in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, while visiting his girlfriend, actress and singer Kelly Khumalo.

Two men entered the house, demanding cellphones, and shot him before fleeing.

There were several other mourners who carried posters referring to the country's violent crime and it was a topic that a number of the speakers addressed at the funeral service, Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung urged South Africans to stand up against crime and report it.

"We must inculcate a culture where people come forward to report crime. What brought us here is nothing but crime. If it was not for crime, Senzo would still be in our midst," he said.

South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan said: "Somewhere in our society the value of human life is being challenged."

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said Meyiwa's death made it very clear that the presence of firearms in South African Society needed to be debated.

"A national discourse has started and it is welcome," he told mourners, adding that South Africans would need to decide "whether we are hell-bent on self destruction or peaceful co-existence".

Meyiwa's coffin arrived at the stadium with a full police honour guard and the country's flag draped over it.

The list of those who came to pay their respects included Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba and players from Kaizer Chiefs and Meyiwa's team Orlando Pirates.

The rain failed to dampen the crowd's resolve to pay their respects. An announcement over the loudspeaker system said that some 25 000 people had arrived at Moses Mabhida stadium.

After the service, thousands of supporters left the stands to stand on a ramp and watch a convoy of white Audi Q7s leave the stadium. One carried Meyiwa's remains.

As the convoy made its way out of the city along the Western Freeway people could be seen with their cell phones taking pictures or crossing their forearms in the Orlando Pirates salute. The team's logo is a skull and cross bones.

As the coffin descended at the cemetery, a police bugle performed a rendition of The Last Post.

Meyiwa's wife wept, and appeared to be speaking to the slain goalkeeper as she threw a flower into the grave.

Meyiwa's father Samuel looked lost and forlorn, and seemed to be confused after being handed the South African flag that was draped over Meyiwa's coffin. A heavy rain then began to fall.

As relatives approached the grave, they too began to weep. Kaizer Chiefs players, led by goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, placed flowers in the grave. Mbalula stood at the grave with a bowed head.

Meyiwa's grave was next to anti-apartheid journalist Nat Nakasa, who was buried at the cemetery in September, 49 years after he was buried in New York.

On Friday, a man appeared in court in connection with Meyiwa's murder.

Gauteng police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said: "(On Thursday), after receiving very positive information about a number of suspects, we conducted an identity parade during which some of the witnesses positively identified one person."

The 25-year-old Vosloorus resident, Zenokuhle Mbatha, was arrested and charged on the basis of the positive identification.

The National Prosecuting Authority said Mbatha would appear in the Boksburg Magistrate's Court again on November 11.

Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  senzo meyiwa  |  soccer

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