Johannesburg - ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa sought to take control of the situation at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday after disruptions by sections of the crowd.
Three times he called on people to be disciplined.
“We have visitors, let's not embarrass ourselves, behave,” Ramaphosa said.
“He (Mandela) was a disciplined cadre and let us send him off in a disciplined way. Let us show all and sundry that we are a disciplined people.”
People interrupted tributes by some foreign heads of state by cheering their favourite politicians and booing President Jacob Zuma.
He interrupted the speech by India's President Pranab Mukherjee, moving the microphone away from his face, to address a band playing in the crowd: “You can play your wonderful music in a while,” he said.
He informed the crowd that Zuma's speech would be brief because of the rain.
A note came up on the big screen reading “silence please”.
Some people started leaving the FNB Stadium as the rain continued to pour down in Soweto. Others chatted among themselves during speeches.
The noise of the chatter overwhelmed the sound of the speeches by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and Chinese vice-president Li Yuanchao.
Despite Ramaphosa's pleas, some of the crowd sang during the speeches. The crowd seemed more interested in getting a wave from leaders such as US President Barack Obama than listening to the tributes.