President Cyril Ramaphosa and other political leaders have arrived at the stadium in Ulundi to pay their final respects to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Former president Jacob Zuma, United Democratic Movement (UDM) Leader Bantu Holomisa, Economic Freedom Fighters’s leader Julius Malema and Democratic Alliance Leader John Steenhuisen are some of the leaders who have taken their seats ahead of the start of the funeral.
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who is also attending the funeral, said he has known Buthelezi for many years.
He described him as a man of integrity and a voice of reason in Parliament when tensions ratcheted up among political parties.
“I have known him for a long time. I know he made sure [KwaZulu-Natal] KZN had Mangosuthu University,” said Zondo.
But Buthelezi was firm in his belief that all leaders should be given the respect they deserve irrespective of their political affiliation.
“There were challenges in Parliament and people spoke disrespectfully to president (Thabo) Mbeki, he would stand up and say he is my president too. People would speak disrespectfully to Zuma, he would stand up and say he is my president too,” said Zondo of Buthelezi.
He said he was a man of integrity who accorded respect to leaders of other political parties.