STATEMENT BY MINISTER COLLINS CHABANE ON BEHALF OF THE INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE FOR THE STATE FUNERAL
Fellow South Africans
Ladies and gentlemen of the media
Welcome to this latest update on the preparations for the State Funeral for our beloved President.
We are pleased to have with us:
- The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane;
- The Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters;
- The Executive Mayor of the City of Joburg, Mr Parks Tau, and representatives of the City of Tshwane.
These leaders are here to provide closer details of some of the logistics in and around the two cities, as well as South Africa’s hosting of the large number of international dignitaries who have begun to arrive.
We will in this briefing provide more information on some of the arrangements on which we reported yesterday.
But we do again want to start by thanking people around the country and the world for their warm and generous responses in the wake of the passing of our beloved President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
These demonstrations of love and affection will go a long way to entrenching our memories of Madiba and in shaping the way we live and work with one another as human beings in this country and beyond.
What we have seen over the past few days reflects the true spirit of South Africa as a place where people of all backgrounds are working together to create a non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous society. These efforts are creating the hope that we will achieve even greater things than we have during the first 20 Years of Freedom.
I now want to turn to the update on the programme over the next few hours and days.
1. DAY OF PRAYER AND REFLECTION: TODAY, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8 2013
Government has been heartened by the positive response of various communities of faith and other civil society formations to President Jacob Zuma’s call for today to be observed as a day of prayer and reflection.
We are aware that a large number of events are being held in South Africa and abroad today, giving people an opportunity to come together in fellowship and reflection.
We hope these events will bring comfort and healing to congregants and participants, and that it will inspire all of humanity to ensure that Madiba’s values live on in our hearts and in our actions.
As these events take place, government agencies will be hard at work making preparations for the rest of the week’s official programme.
2. INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS
From today we will see the arrival of a large contingent of Heads of State and Government and a broad range of eminent persons, including royalty.
The fact that international leaders are making their way to South Africa at such short notice, reflects the special place President Mandela holds in the hearts of people around the globe.
We are touched by the fact that many countries have declared periods of mourning, ordered that flags be flown at half-mast and draped or lit landmarks in the colours of the South African flag. We truly appreciate these gestures.
We appreciate the willingness showed by a broad range of eminent persons to come to South Africa to join us personally at this time of mourning, reflection and celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy.
To date, 13 African states have confirmed attendance, in addition to 15 from outside the continent.
International and regional organisations from the United Nations and European Commission to the African Union, for example, have also confirmed attendance.
Eleven (11) Eminent Persons will also be in South Africa during this period.
From the United States, President and Mrs Obama will be accompanied by three former Presidents – Carter, Bush (George W), Clinton and their spouses, and 26 Congressmen.
The Brazilian President, Ms Dilma Rousseff, will be accompanied by four former Heads of State: Presidents Sarney, Melo, Cardoso and Lula da Silva.
We expect more confirmations, and we wish to reiterate that our international guests are most welcome as they join us at this difficult time.
3. OFFICIAL MEMORIAL SERVICE: FNB STADIUM, JOHANNESBURG
The Official Memorial Service at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, on Tuesday, December 10. The event will begin formally at 11am. Gates will open at 6am.
This is an international event that will be attended by members of the public alongside national and international leaders.
The President of the Republic of South Africa will address the official memorial service.
The programme will also include tributes by Heads of State from the various regions of the globe, the continent and representatives of international and regional organisations. Eminent persons will also address the gathering.
As we invite people to participate in this event, we must make the additional point that the body of President Mandela will not be in position at the Official Memorial Service. President Mandela will lie in state at the Union Buildings only from Wednesday, December 11 to 13 December 2013.
Our advice is that people outside Gauteng come together in their own provinces to ensure that this is a truly nationwide event, and that people take advantage of the fact that all key events are being broadcast live.
Provincial and local authorities have been requested to arrange transport for mourners from various parts of the country to FNB Stadium and the overflow venues at Ellis Park Stadium, Orlando Stadium and Dobsonville Stadium.
Big screens will be installed at the overflow venues to allow members of the public to follow proceedings at FNB Stadium in the company of compatriots.
While these venues offer extensive seating, people must accept that at some stage this capacity will be filled and police and other authorities will turn people away.
We call on people to cooperate and demonstrate patience and dignity if they were to be turned away.
Government is doing all it can to allow as many people as possible to be part of these official events, but there are limits to how many people we can reasonably accommodate.
Members of the public who want to attend the National Memorial Service at FNB or other stadiums must plan their trips carefully, leave early and use public transport. No cars will be allowed in the vicinity of FNB Stadium.
ROAD CLOSURES, PUBLIC TRANSPORT AND PARK AND RIDE
There will be road closures around FNB Stadium and no cars will be allowed at the stadium. Some of the road closures have already been listed on various government websites, including www.mandela.gov.za.
- There will also be road closures on Tuesday morning around Orlando, Ellis Park and Dobsonville stadiums.
- Mourners to FNB Stadium can travel by Metrorail from all major stations in Gauteng.
- They will also be able to travel by Gautrain to Park Station and transfer to Metrorail to FNB Stadium.
- People will also be able to walk from the surrounding areas to the stadium, and
- A special Rea Vaya service will also be in operation.
- The City of Joburg has a number of Park and Ride sites for FNB Stadium, Ellis Park and Orlando Stadium. Members of the public must watch the media, visit websites and follow broadcast media for details.
The City of Joburg has also established Mourning Sites at various locations but the City will provide more details in its own briefing here shortly.
4.PUBLIC VIEWING AREAS FOR REGIONAL MEMORIAL EVENTS AROUND THE COUNTRY
We must emphasise that also on Tuesday, provincial authorities will be hosting various events around the country where people are invited to come together to view the national event at FNB Stadium on big screens.
These public viewing areas, which are normally activated during national events such as the State of the Nation Address, will be similar to the “fan parks” that were in place during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Around 90 big screens will be set up by Government Communications (GCIS) and partners in all provinces.
We expect this number will increase as provincial plans are consolidated later this afternoon.
Some of the big screens will be live from Tuesday 10 December to Monday 16 December, which is Day of Reconciliation.
On the Day of Reconciliation, we will unveil a statue of President Mandela at the Union Buildings and observe the 100th anniversary of the Union Buildings as the seat of government.
Throughout this period, people will also be able to express their emotions and reflections in books of condolence that have been posted at various government offices around the country and our diplomatic missions abroad.
Details of the sites where books of condolence have been opened have been posted on the government memorial website, www.mandela.gov.za.
Details of the public viewing areas for Tuesday’s provincial events will be posted on government websites and social media later today, Sunday.
5. LYING IN STATE: WEDNESDAY TO FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11 TO 13, 2013
The procession will leave 1 Military Hospital at 7am daily and President Mandela’s body will be on view from 8am.
On Wednesday December 11, the Mandela family and VVIPs will view the body from 10am.
Members of the public will file past the body from 12h00 to 17h30.
On Thursday and Friday December 12 and 13, the public will have access to casket from 8am to 5.30pm.
We also appeal to people to work with the various agencies of government who will manage this route so that this daily event will be dignified and secure.
Two sites in Pretoria will be used as points from which mourners will be shuttled to the Union Buildings and back. No other access will be possible. Mourners are also advised that cellphones will need to be off and out of sight as mourners file past the body.
Government reiterates its appeal for members of the public to line the memorial route each morning to form a public guard of honour. The public guard of honour will not apply in the evening.
STATE FUNERAL, QUNU
More information will be released in the coming days about arrangements for the laying to rest of President Mandela at Qunu in the Eastern Cape.
However, it is worth noting that South African Airways will operate a special air transport service to ferry mourners who will attend the funeral of world icon and former president Nelson Mandela in the Eastern Cape.
This special service – for which travellers will pay – will cater for mourners who will attend the funeral and the service will also be available on the return leg of their travel.
The special service does not replace and will not disrupt SAA’s existing daily operations to the Eastern Cape – except that airspace will be restricted around Mthatha.
Information about the readiness of the Airports Company of South Africa to manage passengers and aircraft during this period has been compiled into a factsheet. This factsheet is available on the official government memorial website, www.mandela.gov.za.
In addition to regular press conferences, government is also posting information regularly on the following online platforms:
Government also advises people to check the websites and social media accounts of provincial and municipal government for intermittent updates.
Acting Cabinet Spokesperson
083 5010 139
Issued by the Government Communication and Information System
Republic of South Africa