Durban - Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba arrived for the funeral of Bafana Bafana captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa at the Moses Mabhida Stadium here on Saturday.
Gigaba, wearing a black suit, white shirt and grey tie, was accompanied by his wife, who wore similarly subdued colours.
He shook hands with supporters before paying tribute to Meyiwa.
"Senzo was part of us every week, giving us memories. We are left with that," Gigaba said.
"He was larger than life, to imagine him cold was something we never thought we would see... such is life that we have to bury our younger brothers," said Gigaba.
He, like KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu, made a cross with his arms - a sign associated with Orlando Pirates, who Meyiwa also captained.
The team's badge has a skull and crossbones and Pirates players greet their fans ahead of each match with the same gesture. The stadium was slowly filling up as the family was making its way to the venue.
Earlier, Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba was greeted with wild applause and ululation from the supporters who had gathered to bid Meyiwa farewell.
Wearing a black suit, white shirt and a striped tie, he crossed the pitch to a marquee erected for guests.
Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo also arrived earlier.
Gospel singers took to the stage to entertain the crowd, numbering around 15 000, as rain started to fall.
Meyiwa was killed around 20:00 last Sunday, when two attackers entered his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo's house.
On Friday, a man appeared in court in connection with Meyiwa's murder.
Gauteng police spokesperson 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, when he was expected to apply for legal aid.