President Cyril Ramaphosa was booed in Zimbabwe on Saturday afternoon as he addressed mourners at Robert Mugabe’s state funeral in the capital, Harare.
The funeral service, which is taking place at the National Sports Stadium, has seen heads of state and former presidents joining Zimbabweans in paying tribute to the former states man.
Ramaphosa took to the stage to deliver his condolences but he was interrupted by boos from the crowd.
In recent weeks, foreign nationals were attacked in South Africa during a spate of violent activity that led to shops being looted and property vandalized.
Twelve people have died, many have been arrested and hundreds of immigrants – including Nigerians and Zimbabwean – have left the country.
When he was finally allowed to speak, Ramaphosa apologised for the violence.
The President assured mourners that South Africans were not xenophobic and said South Africa was making efforts to deal with the causes of the violence.
According to South African presidency, Ramaphosa’s attendance signifies South Africa’s regard and gratitude for the role played by the late former President Mugabe as leader of Zimbabwe’s pre-independence liberation movement and as President of Zimbabwe in support of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid.
In his address, President Ramaphosa acknowledged the concerns of Zimbabwean nationals and other African diaspora communities in South Africa at recent incidents of public violence in South Africa.
Earlier Mugabe’s family thanked Zimbabweans for their support following the passing of the former statesman, saying they now know for sure that Mugabe was loved by his country.
Family spokesperson Walter Chidakwa said, “The crowds that gathered to welcome you into the country were indeed of unprecedented proportions. The crowds that lined the streets from Harare international airport, right into the city, have never before been seen.”