11 December 2013
Nelson Mandela’s body has returned to the Union Buildings in Pretoria where he was sworn in as South Africa’s first democratically elected president almost 20 years ago.
In 1994, the Union Buildings played host to his inauguration, heralding the beginning of a new era in South Africa’s history.
On Tuesday, Mandela’s body arrived in a glass-sided hearse just before 8am from 1 Military Hospital in Thaba Thswane with his coffin draped in the South African flag.
He will lie in state at the newly renamed Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre, where the public will have an opportunity to view the body of the father of the nation. His grandson, Ndaba Mandela, welcomed Madiba’s body at the amphitheatre.
The public will be able to view the body from noon until 5:30pm. No cameras or mobile phones will be permitted. The public viewing will be preceded by a viewing by the Mandela family and several heads of state.
There will also be a parade with a gun carriage drawn by soldiers, a 21-gun salute, and a moment of silence.
There will be a constant vigil at Mandela’s coffin and a funeral procession led by the military’s national ceremonial guard.
Officials announced on Monday that access to the Union Buildings for viewing the body would be restricted – only those in buses provided by the City of Tshwane would be allowed in.
Members of the public have been asked use the park-and-ride facilities at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria West, the LC De Villiers Sports Facility in Hatfield, and Fountains Valley Park.
The buses will drop people off at the Union Buildings where they will be allowed to walk past and look inside the glass-topped coffin.
On Thursday and Friday, the public will have access to the amphitheatre from 8am until 5.30pm.