- The South African Police Service has responded to the backlash over the Mabena moment at Dr Richard Maponya's funeral
- Citizens didn't know whether to laugh or cry after top brass forgot which side was left and which was right
- But the police have brushed off the moment as simply 'rather unfortunate'
Dr Richard Maponya was a professional and his final farewell should have been conducted in a similar manner.
Briefly.co.za reported that four officers botched their ceremony despite the command being clearly dictated to them.
The incident has since gone viral, with citizens condemning the embarrassing moment in its entirety.
Spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo spoke to News24, saying that it was 'simply an error which is highly regrettable'.
Maponya had died last week after a short illness, just days after his 99th birthday. President Cyril Ramaphosa himself delivered his eulogy during the ceremony at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto Campus on Tuesday.
Ramaphosa said Maponya wished to see others alongside him as he enjoyed success:
"Ntate Richard was always pushing back the frontiers, agitating for more to be done to support small business, and encouraging more people to take the great and daunting leap into entrepreneurship. From his earliest days, and long before it became a popular term, he demonstrated the qualities of responsible corporate citizenship."
Ramaphosa said that the businessman had not kept his wealth to himself, sharing it along the way:
"He did not hoard the gains he made over his decades in business, but ploughed much of it back into the communities in which he operated."
The president revealed that the two of them had enjoyed a close bond over the issues facing South Africa:
"I personally received many a late night call from him, sharing his viewpoint on one or another pressing issue of the day. In my very last engagements with him, he urged me to do everything I can to see his greatest dream realised, to set up a youth entrepreneurship academy. It is a wish I will endeavour to see fulfilled on his behalf."
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