Slain Bafana captain’s murder a 'travesty' for SA

Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead last Sunday while visiting his girlfriend in Vosloorus.

Senzo Meyiwa's final resting place. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

KWAZULU-NATAL - Keynote speakers have spoken warmly of slain Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa calling him a South African hero and describing his murder as a travesty for South Africa.

Meyiwa was shot dead last Sunday while visiting his girlfriend in Vosloorus.

Over 30,000 people have attended the sports star's funeral which is being held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The funeral has now concluded.

His remains will now be taken to the burial site in Chesterville.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula spoke passionately of Meyiwa and said the country will not rest until all of his killers have been apprehended.

Pirates Chairman Dr Irvin Khoza brought some to tears when a video of Meyiwa was played on the big screen.

The moving video tribute showed Meyiwa at his best, making stunning saves for both pirates and Bafana.

Khoza offered words of encouragement to his players, telling them to be strong and to persevere.

Meanwhile at Heroes' Acre Cemetery where Senzo Meyiwa will be buried there is a flurry of activity as officials hurriedly make preparations to receive Meyiwa's casket.

The pounding rain represented the downcast mood as Meyiwa's family prepared to bury the slain footballer.

Draped in the national flag, cameras flashed as Meyiwa's casket was brought to the cemetery and at times mourners blew vuvuzela horns and sang soccer chants.

Police officers provided a guard of honor as people looked on.

One suspect, Zanokuhle Mbatha, has been arrested after witnesses picked him out in an identity parade. The 25-year-old briefly appeared in court on Friday and will reappear on 11 November. Police had issued identikits of two men on Tuesday.

"We've got every reason to be angry about Senzo," Fikile Mbalula told the mourners. "Justice is grinding and we will find them. We will never rest until we find all of them."

Meyiwa's death came days after the jailing of paralympian Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp thinking she was an intruder lurking in his luxury Pretoria home in the capital of crime-ridden South Africa.

The country remains one of the world's most violent, although the murder rate been dropping gradually. Police recorded more than 17,000 murders last year, or 31 per 100,000 people - seven times the rate in the United States.

An average 50 guns are reported lost and stolen every day from licensed owners, according to lobby group Gun Free South Africa.

TEARFUL FAREWELL

"Lest we forget, this is not the first time that an icon of this nature departs in the fashion that Senzo departed," said Kaizer Motaung, founder of the Kaizer Chiefs, the main rivals to the Orlando Pirates club Meyiwa played for.

Thousands of people braved drizzling rain in the 85,000 Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, a short distance from the Umhlazi township where Meyiwa was born.

Most of the crowd wore the Pirates' red or black colours but there was also a sprinkling of the yellow worn by the Chiefs.

Team mates and mourners wiped away tears as they watched video clips showing father of three Meyiwa training, diving to make saves, or pumping his arms in celebration of a win.

Meyiwa had captained South Africa in their first four African Nations Cup qualifiers over the last two months without conceding a goal.

Two other sporting icons died within days of Meyiwa. Former world 800 metres champion and Olympic silver medallist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was killed in a car accident last week.

Light middleweight Phindile Mwelase, 31, also passed away last week after a knockout punch in a fight against Liz Butler two weeks ago put her in a coma.