14 December 2013

South Africa: All Set for Mandela's Funeral

Qunu — Government says it is pleased with the manner in which South Africans have conducted themselves during the 10-day mourning period which was declared when former President Nelson Mandela passed away.

Mandela's body arrived in Qunu, his hometown, on Saturday afternoon after a procession from Mthatha Airport where full military and defence force honours were performed.

Some 4000 people have been invited to attend the official funeral of the anti-apartheid hero, including family members, African leaders and several current and former Heads of State. They include the Prince of Wales Prince Charles and Prominent US Civil Rights activist Reverend Jessie Jackson.

Malawi President Joyce banda will attend and represent the Southern African Development Community (SADC) while Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete will represent former liberation movements, said Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, at a briefing on Saturday.

Local people from Qunu will also be accommodated, but the number will be limited due to space.

Chabane said the Mandela family and government believed that the guard of honour from Mthatha to Qunu, as well as the public viewing areas, which have been arranged for the funeral, had afforded members of the public an opportunity to pay their final respects to Madiba.

Government once again urged members of the public to make use of the public viewing areas to watch the former statesman's official funeral which will be broadcast from 7am on Sunday.

In the Eastern Cape alone, 18 public viewing areas have been set in several towns, with six of them situated in Mthatha and Mandela's Qunu village.

Officials have urged the public to conduct themselves with dignity when at these public viewing areas.

"They [the public] are requested to continue to show the dignity and respect deserving of the former President," Chabane said.

The funeral is scheduled to start at 8am and shuttle busses will ferry mourners from park-and-ride facilities from 2am on Sunday.

No vehicles will be allowed near the Mandela residence and the N2 road - which links East London to Dutywa, Butterworth and Mthata - will be closed and all traffic will be diverted.

"There will be traffic delayed during the ceremony and the public is urged to exercise patience during this period," said Chabane. - SAnews.gov.za

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