South African president Jacob Zuma has been heckled and booed by the crowd at the Johannesburg stadium during the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.

At his arrival at the 95,000-capacity First National Bank Stadium, Zuma was loudly jeered with people chanting "substitute!" and singing the praises of Mandela's successor as South Africa president, Thabo Mbeki.

Lydia Pogreen, of the New York Times, tweeted:

Mbeki criticised Zuma's government over the weekend.

"To celebrate [Mandela's] life properly we need to ask ourselves a question about the quality of leadership. To say, 'to what extent are we measuring up to the standard they [Mandela and his generation] set in terms of the quality of leadership?'," he asked.

Zuma has been a controversial figure during his five years in office.

The most recent row related to a probe by the government anti-corruption body into a $20m security upgrade at his home in the village of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal province.

MPs have accused him of lying about the upgrade and have threatened impeachment.