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South African Government update on State Funeral

South African Government update on State Funeral for President Nelson Mandela

09 Dec 2013

Fellow South Africans
Ladies and gentlemen of the media

Welcome to this briefing on 9 December 2013 – a day before the National Memorial Service for the late President Nelson Mandela will be held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. This is also a day on which we are welcoming a growing number of international leaders to South Africa.

Since we are briefing media, let me start by thanking the media for the patience you showed yesterday when you had to wait in long queues for accreditation at the Nasrec Expo Centre.

We appreciate the understanding many of you showed as we managed an unprecedented inflow of visitors over a short period of time. Accreditation helps us extend the necessary courtesies to guests and allows us to secure people and venues.

We are doing our best to make it as comfortable and productive for journalists to cover this significant event in our country, and we will keep you updated on media logistics throughout this period.

Most of the problems have been ironed out and by 5am today morning, we had issued permits to more than 1,500 media professionals.

Thank you for yesterday's day of prayer and reflection

As government, we want to thank South Africans and our friends and partners around the world for the overwhelming response yesterday to President Jacob Zuma’s call for the day to be observed with prayer and reflection.

We saw yesterday how people from all walks of life came together in villages, towns and global cities around the world to celebrate Madiba’s life.

Memorial events were staged in Bryanston, Khayelitsha and Tshwane, but also at Mbazwana, Grahamstown and Motherwell.

People came together in KwaDukuza, at a Hare Krishna temple in Chatsworth and shared their love for Madiba in Addis Ababa, Harare, London and Sydney.

We view this as Madiba’s legacy living on in the lives and values of people all over the world.

In South Africa his legacy lives on in our democratic dispensation and in the positive changes we have seen in the quality of life in our country, and in our engagement with the world.

Madiba’s legacy lives on in our commitment to ensure a just and fair society for all.

Madiba’s legacy to the country and the world will no doubt be the focus of today’s special Joint Sitting of Parliament where the country’s political leadership will reflect on the life and contribution of Nelson Mandela.

We expect that this sitting – where members of the public will be special guests – will demonstrate that President Mandela’s vision and principles remain the guiding light for South Africa in 2013 and the years ahead.

In this briefing, we’d like to touch on a few key points that cover today and tomorrow:

International Arrivals

By noon today (Monday) 91 Heads of State and Government and 10 former heads had confirmed that they would attend the National Memorial Service at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, tomorrow.

Kings, queens, princes and princesses will be joined at FNB Stadium by representatives of international organisations such as the United Nations, African Union, European Union, the Commonwealth and the World Bank, and other VIPs.

At least 70 sitting and 10 former Heads of State and Government and have confirmed their attendance of the National Memorial Service at FNB Stadium tomorrow, Tuesday, December 10, or other memorial events.

We extend a warm South African welcome to all leaders, eminent persons and delegations who are making their way to South Africa to be with us at this time of mourning and celebration.

Government has advised visiting leaders to attend the National Memorial Service in Johannesburg in preference to President Mandela’s burial in Qunu. This is view of the logistical challenges of hosting large delegations of VVIPs and VIPs in a village such as Qunu.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation is continuously updating the list of confirmed VVIPs and VIPs on social media, and information is being posted on and other government sites.

The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has put measures in place to handle the influx of visitors.

The company’s operations team has already activated a number of controls to ensure smooth facilitation of passengers during this time.

Capacity at the two airports is as follows:
O.R. Tambo International Airport
Hourly runway capacity (air traffic movements) 62
Annual passenger handling capacity 28 million
Public parking bays 16 300

East London Airport
Hourly runway capacity (air traffic movements) 30
Annual passenger handling capacity 1,2 million
Public parking bays 550

Temporary infrastructure has been created at East London Airport to handle more than the 2 000 passengers per day that the airports currently facilitates.

Extra staff has been assigned to help with additional services.

Engagements between airports, airlines, ground-handling companies, government and law enforcement agencies are currently underway to ensure smooth processing.

Due to the expected increase in traffic and passenger volumes, flow restrictions as it applies to air traffic movements have been imposed, which includes parking restrictions for arriving aircraft.

Both scheduled and non-scheduled airlines will need to park in either a pre-arranged hangar or, divert to another facility.

Given Airports Company South Africa’s expertise at managing significant increases in local and international passenger numbers, the company is confident that it can handle any operational challenges that it may be faced with during this period.

National Memorial Service

As we prepare for the National Memorial Service at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, tomorrow, government wants to emphasise that not all members of the public will be accommodated at the main venue.

We also remind people that the body of President Mandela will NOT be in position at FNB Stadium tomorrow.

Government has arranged for free public transport and park and rides to accommodate mourners and ensure that they are able to get to the Stadiums on time.

No cars will be allowed near FNB Stadium and there will be road closures in place from Monday 9th December.

Mourners are urged to choose which stadium they want to use and to plan their travel accordingly.

Once FNB Stadium is full, mourners will be directed to other venues. Visitors are encouraged to listen to their local radio stations and follow social media.

Mourners are urged to arrive early at the stadiums, which will open at 6am.

Parking venues and bus services will be operating from 5:00 am.

Due to the National Memorial Service, there will be no normal Rea Vaya bus services around Johannesburg.

Metrobus will run a limited service, similar to the service that they operate on Sundays. PUTCO will endeavour to run a normal service.

FNB Stadium gates will open at 5am. The cultural programme will run from 8am to 11am, wherever the formal programme will from from 11am to 3pm.

Mourners to FNB Stadium can choose to travel in one of the following ways

• Travel by Metrorail from all major stations in Gauteng. Trains will leave on an hourly basis

• Travel by Gautrain to Park Station and transfer to Metrorail to FNB Stadium

• Walk from the surrounding areas to the stadium

• Use the special Rea Vaya BRT service which will operate as follows:

o T1: From Ellis Park East Rea Vaya Station via Library Gardens Westbound Rea Vaya Station and Westgate Rea Vaya Station to Soccer City Rea Vaya Station

o T3: From UJ Kingsway Rea Vaya Station via Soweto Highway to Nasrec North Rea Vaya Station

• Drive to a Park and Ride site and travel by Rea Vaya BRT or bus to the stadium.

• The following are the Park and Ride sites but mourners are urged to watch the press for updates:

o Standard Bank, entrance No 1 Simmond Street, Joburg CBD

o Opening parking next to Rea Vaya Westgate Station, entrance in Anderson Street, Joburg CBD

o University of Johannesburg, Kingsway Campus

o Gold Reef City (Casino), entrance in Northern Parkway, Ormonde

o Apartheid Museum, entrance in Northern Parkway, Ormonde

2. Supplementary National Memorial Sites: Ellis Park Stadium

Mourners can get to Ellis Park in one of the following ways:

• Travel by Metrorail from Park Station to Ellis Park

• Walk from the nearby areas of Hillbrow, Yeoville, Bertrams, Troyeville, etc.

• Walk from the University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein Campus, entrance in Beit Street, Doornfontein

• Use the special Rea Vaya BRT service which will operate as follows:

o T1: From Westgate Rea Vaya Station via Library Gardens East Bound Rea Vaya Station to Ellis Park East Rea Vaya Station

o From Braamfontein (Joburg Theatre and Conhil Rea Vaya Stations) to Ellis Park North Rea Vaya Station

• Drive to a Park and Ride site and travel by Rea Vaya BRT or bus to the stadium.

The following are the Park and Ride sites but mourners are urged to watch the press for updates:

• Constitutional Hill, entrance in Joubert Street, Braamfontein

• Metro Centre, entrance in Civil Boulevard, Braamfontein

• Thuso House, entrance in Stiemens Street, Braamfontein

• Wits University, West Campus

• Bez Valley Park, entrance in Marcia Street, Observatory

• ABSA Towers, entrance in Main Street, Joburg CBD.

3. Supplementary National Memorial Service: Orlando Stadium

Mourners can get to Orlando Stadium in one of the following ways:

• Travel by Metrorail from Vereeniging and Naledi Stations

• Walk from the nearby areas of Mlamlankunzi, Orlando West, Orlando East, etc.

• Drive to the Park and Ride at either Coke a Cola Dome, Northgate and catch a bus to Orlando Stadium

• Catch a marked PUTCO bus from the following areas

o Protea Glean

o Merafe

o Molapo

o Bara/Diepkloof

o Chiawelo

o Mapetla

o Dube

o Meadowlands.

4. Supplementary National Memorial Service: Dobsonville Stadium

Mourners can get to Dobsonville Stadium in one of the following ways:

• Walk from the nearby areas of Tshepisong, Braamfisher, Mfulo, etc.

• Catch a marked PUTCO bus from the following areas:

o Emdeni

o Naledi

o Dobsonville

o Orange Farm

o Silvertown

o Braamfisher

5. Details of FNB Stadium Road Closures

The following road closures will be in place around FNB Stadium from midnight on Monday 9th December. However JMPD and SAPS will be closely monitoring the area from Monday 9th December 2013:

• N1 and Rand Show Road

• N1 and Soweto Highway

• N1 and 17

• N1 and Nasrec offramp

• Greenwood Rd and Booysens Reserve, and

• asrec and Main Reef Roads.

For more details and updates, people can visit

We have previously indicated that President Jacob Zuma will address the National Memorial Service.

Other speakers will include national leadership figures and international dignitaries, including some Heads of State and Government.

Public Viewing Areas

We have asked provincial authorities to arrange transport to bring mourners to FNB Stadium and the overflow venues at Ellis Park, Orlando Stadium, Dobsonville Stadium and Atteridgeville Stadium.

Outside of Gauteng, close to 150 sites have been created by provincial authorities where people will be able to follow live television coverage of key events during the course of this week.

One of these public viewing areas will be at Freedom Park, Pretoria, where a giant screen has been installed for the duration of this week.

Freedom Park also has an amphitheatre can take a further 2 500 people.

The Freedom Park viewing area opened today and will be in place until the burial of Tata Madiba next Sunday, December 15, 2013.

Freedom Park is also inviting media organisations to use Freedom Park as a venue for outside broadcasts and backdrops during this period.

All public viewing areas will work much in the same way that “fan parks” operated during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations.

Details of public viewing sites are listed on the official government memorial website,, as well as the websites of provincial and local government throughout the country.

These facilities will work much in the same way that “fan parks” operated during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations.

We expect that at some stage, all of these venues will be filled to capacity and we therefore ask kindly that people cooperate with authorities if they were to be turned away.

We ask that where people are turned away, they respond with the dignity and decency that Madiba would expect in a situation like that.

People are also advised to look for notices in newspapers and to listen to commercial and community radio for details.

We expect that at some stage, all of these venues will be filled to capacity and we therefore ask kindly that people cooperate with authorities if they were to be turned away.

We ask that where people are turned away, they respond with the dignity and decency that Madiba would expect in a situation like that.


Wednesday, December 10 2013, will be the first day that President Mandela’s body will lie in state at the Union Buildings, Pretoria. This will be the first of three days on which mourners will be able to file past the President’s casket in the Union Buildings amphitheatre.

Mourners will be transported by shuttle to Union Buildings from the Pretoria Showgrounds in the west of the city during the course of each day.

On Wednesday 11 December 2013, the President’s body will be transported along a memorial route from 1 Military Hospital, Thaba Tshwane, to the Union Buildings.

Once the casket is prepared for viewing, members of the Mandela family and various national and international dignitaries will view the late President from 10am to 12 noon.

Members of the public will be brought to the venue between 12 noon and 5.30 pm.

Members of the public will be taken to the Union Buildings by shuttle from the Pretoria Showgrounds.

No cameras will be allowed and cellphones will need to be switched off and out of sight.

Mourners will be expected to keep moving past the casket, without pausing. This is to ensure that as many people as possible get to pay their last respects.

In this way, it is expected that up to 2 000 people could file past the casket each hour.

Visitors will only be permitted to pay their respect once.

To make sure this happens, security personnel will mark each mourner's thumb/finger nail with the same indelible ink that is used during the voting process.

On Thursday and Friday, the late President’s cortege will leave 1 Military Hospital at 7am and public viewing at the Union Buildings will proceed between 8am and 5.30pm.

Details of the memorial route will be announced after tomorrow’s National Memorial Service at FNB Stadium.

Again, we want to emphasise that all the key events, including the lying-in-state will be broadcast live and people will therefore be able to follow these events from remote sites.

Safety of Children at Public Events

The Department of Social Development has made the following request to secure the safety of children under the age of 8 at major public events:

Parents taking children to such events must write their – the parents’ – cellphone numbers in permanent marker ink on the inside of children’s forearms.

There are always instances of lost children at big events and this is very traumatic for the children and parents or guardians, and it is time-consuming for police and social workers.


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