Graff-Reinet - Leaders of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania had a busy morning on Saturday quelling the fires as members of PAC factions disrupted the official funeral of anti-apartheid activist Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe.
Disruption ensued when Sobukwe's coffin arrived at the Graaff-Reinet Botanical Gardens where the funeral was underway.
PAC members disagreed with government protocols to be followed in the official funeral. Sobukwe was granted a category two state funeral by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Inside the venue, police took over the official duties, such as carrying Sobukwe's coffin to inside the venue.
The first disruptions occurred when members of the PAC, some of them in military gear, sang struggle songs during the police parade. They then forced their way into the funeral venue and demanded to replace state branding with party branding.
Earlier, PAC factional battles came to the fore at the funeral. One PAC faction prevented the leader of another faction, Narius Moloto, from entering the church venue for the funeral.
The faction claimed Moloto was not welcome, as he was "not a PAC representative". He was escorted out of the venue while the leader of another faction Luthando Mbinda was not disturbed.
Speaking to the African News Agency (ANA) after the incident, Moloto said this was the work of the hooligans who came to disrupt the funeral.
"In PAC there are hooligans; this incident is the work of the hooligans who came here for the purpose of disrupting the moment where we should be paying our last respects," Moloto said.
Many mourners turned up to bid farewell to Sobukwe, whom they referred to as the "mother of Azania". Deputy President David Mabuza is expected to deliver the eulogy.
Sobukwe, the widow of PAC founder Robert Sobukwe, died at the age of 91 at her home in Graaff-Reinet last Wednesday.
African News Agency/ANA