Bafana Bafana

KZN premier salutes Meyiwa

2014-11-01 11:30
Senzo Meyiwa (Gallo Images)

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu arrived at the Moses Mabhida Stadium here on Saturday morning ahead of the funeral service of Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa.

Mchunu walked across the side of the pitch, making 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.

Fans continued singing and waving their flags in the stadium as they waited for the official programme to start at 10:00.

Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo arrived shortly after 09:30.

A stage with two big screens was set up on the pitch, with a tent for guests at its side. Flowers adorned the stage.

Bongani "Mzekebhaka" Tshabalala, who carried a poster calling for former national police commissioner Bheki Cele to be reinstated, 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.

Cele reportedly said in 2009 that police should be allowed to "shoot to kill" criminals.

Cele has since denied making the statement, saying he had said police should "use deadly force when under attack".

Ntsakiso Kubayi said he took a bus from Johannesburg to Durban to bid Meyiwa, his "inspiration", farewell.

"I'm here to pay my last tribute to Meyiwa. He inspired me a lot. Every time we were at the stadium he would tell us to cheer up. For me he was Orlando Pirates," he said.

"I have lost a legend, the greatest footballer in South Africa... I have lost someone so important," he said.

Kubayi said Meyiwa's death was not only a loss for Pirates but the nation as a whole.

"He was a leader for both teams and they will have to work hard to replace (him) and find continuity," he said.

Fans were given t-shirts bearing Meyiwa's face and the words "We will never forget you".

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.

Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  senzo meyiwa  |  soccer

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