Joburg gears up for massive Mandela service


    9 December 2013

    The gates of the FNB Stadium outside Soweto, Johannesburg will open at 6am on Tuesday, and those wishing to attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela have been advised to use public transport as cars will not be allowed near the stadium on the day.

    Special bus and train services will be available to ferry people to the service, which begins at 11am. Entry to the service will be granted on a first come, first serve basis.

    Once the venue is full – the stadium has a capacity of 94 000 – people will be redirected to three other stadiums that will be broadcasting the event on giant screens: Ellis Park in Johannesburg, and Orlando Stadium and Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.

    Briefing journalists in Pretoria on Monday on arrangements for this week’s period of national mourning, Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane said that people had to 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,” Chabane said, urging members of the public to make use of the other viewing sites or to follow proceedings on the SABC’s live broadcasts.

    “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.”

    International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told the briefing that a programme for the memorial service was being finalised, and would be presented to the Mandela family and government, and once signed off would immediately be posted on

    Members of the public are urged to visit the site for updates on the memorial service, the funeral and the other events taking place during the week of national mourning.

    Lying in state

    Chabane noted that the body of former president Mandela would not be present at Tuesday’s memorial Service. Mandela’s body will be stationed at the amphitheatre at the Union Buildings daily from Wednesday, 11 October to Friday, 13 October.

    Chabane said that, on these three days, the body would leave Pretoria’s 1 Military Hospital at 7am and be on display from 8am.

    “On Wednesday, December 11, the Mandela family and VIPs will view the body from 10am. Members of the public will file past the body from midday to 5:30pm. On Thursday and Friday December 12 and 13, the public will have access to the 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.”

    Public viewing areas

    Chabane said 90 public viewing areas across the country would be activated from Tuesday and would continue to run until Reconciliation Day on 16 December. He said he expected this number to increase as provincial plans were consolidated.

    “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,” Chabane said.

    “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.”