Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos insisted DR Congo were the better team in their third-place playoff, even though the Congolese lost 6-5 on penalties.
Ronwen Williams was once again the star of the show in the penalty shootout, saving two spot-kicks to secure the bronze medal for South Africa.
South Africa secured their second bronze medal in AFCON history, having achieved the feat in the 2000 showpiece.
Broos admitted Bafana rode their luck in the encounter.
“When you see the game, Congo were better than us. Congo had more chances than us.
“I’m honest, that’s what I saw. But again if you fight like my players did today, I think they deserve it and again I’m very proud of them,” added Broos.
Broos hailed the mentality of his players for weathering the storm for most parts of the game.
“I said after the last game against Nigeria that I was so proud of that team and I think everybody saw today why I am so proud.
“This was an exhausted team of South Africa, we played two games 120 minutes, two times with penalties.
“We played against opponents who had one day more rest than we had, you have the climate. And you saw today that we were not fresh.
“But when you see the mentality in that group, they fight for the last second of the game. They were players who nearly felt from fatigue, but still they went on. I think that makes today win and deserve that win,” he added.