14 December 2013

South Africa: Government Clarifies Tutu Invitation to Mandela Funeral

Qunu — Government says it will be working through the night to assist VIPs wishing to attend the funeral of former President Nelson Mandela, in Qunu, on Sunday.

Minister in The Presidency Collins Chabane -- who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) tasked with organising the funeral of the former statesman -- on Saturday evening moved to explain the issue surrounding the attendance of accredited guests, particularly Archbishop Bishop Desomond Tutu's invitation to attend the funeral.

This comes after Tutu issued a statement announcing that he would not attend the funeral because he had not received an invitation from the Mandela family.

Chabane said no invitations had been issued to any of the guests.

"We didn't send an invitation to Archbishop Tutu because we did not send an invitation to anyone.

"The accreditation for people who were accredited for the National Memorial Service is still valid. This matter was clarified in the first stage of accreditation," said Chabane.

He said those who had been accredited were welcome to attend tomorrow's State Funeral. As long as their names were on the accreditation list, they would be accommodated.

Chabane explained that the guest list for the National Memorial Service at FNB Stadium and the State Funeral at Qunu was generated after receiving lists from these following sources:

1. The standard guest list which the Presidency keeps in its database for various functions which the Presidency hosts.

2. The list submitted by the ANC, which had to submit a guest list to the accreditation committee.

3. The list submitted by the family.

4. The list submitted by religious leaders.

5. The list submitted by Parliament.

The accreditation committee then compared the lists to ensure that there was no duplication of names on the final guest list.

Chabane said Tutu's name was amongst those of church leaders that were forwarded to the family to consider.

"On 9 December 2013, we received a list from church leaders which included the name of Archbishop Tutu. This list, which contained 112 names, was generated by church leaders and submitted by the Chaplain-General of the African National Congress.

"Archbishop Tutu's name was number six on the list. "He was accredited both for FNB Stadium and Qunu in the first round of accreditation, like anyone wishing to pay their respects on the final leg of our journey," he said.

Chabane said those who are attending the funeral submitted lists indicating their wish to attend. Chabane said this included a list submitted by the family, the ANC, one from religious leaders and one from Parliament.

He said after the list was submitted, it was thereafter discussed between the Mandela family and church leaders and finalised by the two parties.

"That part of the programme (for the State Funeral) was finalised between the church leaders and the family. Government was then provided with names to be included in the programme, which government was required to print.

"Government did not comment on the programme, as we respected the wishes of the family.

"We have since been assured by the church leaders that they will clarify this position with the Archbishop and we hope they have done so already.

"We have left the matter in their hands."

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