Former president Thabo Mbeki has described late Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe as a tried and tested compatriot and a great Pan-African.
Mbeki was speaking at a memorial service for Mugabe at the Durban City Hall.
He labelled the Zimbabwean leader as a great political actor who had an interest in the countries of the south.
Mbeki lashed out at Western countries, saying the UK and US, in particular, were adamant that Mugabe should be removed from public office.
He added that when he was president, former UK prime minister Tony Blair contacted South Africa and proposed that Mugabe not run for president.
The former president brokered the 2008 government of unity that brought in the late leader of the MDC Morgan Tsvangirai to become the Prime Minister under Mugabe.
Robert Mugabe,ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years until he was ousted by his own army in November 2017, died in a Singapore hospital on September 6, aged 95.