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Zuma booing 'wrong, unnecessary' & 'undesirable'

Govt. will not deal with the ‘incident’ of President Zuma being booed until after Madiba's funeral.

President Jacob Zuma delivers a speech during the memorial service at Bryanston Church, north of Johannesburg on 8 December 2013. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Government has described the booing of President Jacob Zuma at Nelson Mandela's memorial service on Tuesday as "wrong", "unnecessary" and "undesirable".

Government has also tried to play down the effects of it, saying it will reflect on what happened next week once Madiba's funeral has passed.

Parts of the crowd at the FNB Stadium in Soweto booed each time the camera showed President Zuma and cheered when it panned across other leaders such as Thabo Mbeki and United States President Barack Obama.

Government says being distracted by the booing now, with just days to go before the funeral, is simply not an option.

It says that would be like giving up a kudu hunt to chase a rabbit that darts across one's path.

But pushed on the topic on Wednesday, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane conceded that the entire episode was a huge embarrassment, which would likely be dealt with later. Chabane claimed the memorial service was otherwise a success and described it as a momentous and memorable day.

But questions continue to be asked about transport problems, sound system glitches and the sign language interpreter who stands accused of being a fake.

Meanwhile, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) says it can't be dictated to about what to cover during news events after it was criticised for not reporting on the booing of the president.

The SABC didn't mention the incident during its scheduled television news bulletins.

The City Press newspaper says that's because executives ordered staff not to carry anything that could embarrass the corporation.

Media Monitoring Africa's William Bird said the SABC has made a mistake.

"For them to not mention that when almost every other media house has mentioned it, I think is an incredible omission and constitutes the incredibly poor sense of news judgement."