“His career in SAPS [the SA Police Service] didn’t end the way he wanted,” she said at the NG Kerk in Moreleta Park, Pretoria.
“Let us never let that detract from the good that he’s already done, the foundations he’s already laid.
“Let us remember Jackie Sello Selebi fairly.”
Phiyega, wearing a large black hat and leopard print top, thanked Selebi for the “written blue prints” which the police still used.
His election as president of Interpol in 2004 was a first for the country and the continent.
“He threw himself into that role with vigour,” she said.
What Selebi had contributed would be remembered as “sweet memories”.
“Thank you for sharing commissioner Selebi with all of us,” she said to his family.
Earlier, Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile said Selebi had despised apartheid and fought it under difficult conditions.
“He despised apartheid and its quest to keep African children as perpetual slaves and he understood the importance of education,” Mashatile said.
“Under difficult conditions when the liberation movement and others were banned, where our leaders were either in prison, or banished, or exiled, he opted to fight for his people.”
Selebi died last Friday aged 64. He had reportedly suffered from diabetes and kidney problems.
He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment on August 3, 2010, for taking bribes from convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti.
The former head of Interpol started serving his sentence in 2011, after being found guilty of corruption in 2010. He was released from Pretoria central prison on medical parole less than a year later.