Pretoria prepares for Mandela mourners


    5 December 2013

    Preparations are under way to accommodate the influx of thousands of people expected to pay their respects to late Nelson Mandela in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria.

    Mandela will lie in state in the amphitheatre at the Union Buildings, where he was inaugurated in 1994 as South Africa’s first democratically elected head of state and the country’s first black president.

    Members of the public will be able to line the route from Wednesday to Friday to watch Mandela’s coffin as it is transported daily at 7am from 1 Military Hospital in Thaba Tshwane to the Union Buildings.

    The cortege will proceed from 1 Military Hospital, along Kgosi Mampuru Street to Nelson Mandela Avenue, then into Madiba Street and finally to the Union Buildings.

    Briefing the media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday, Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said that some roads that had been closed for construction of the Bus Rapid Transit system would be reopened for the duration of the mourning period. Security in the area will be tightened and emergency services put on the alert.

    “The city has a reasonable resource capacity in the form of human resources and equipment to manage the event and all its risk manifestations,” Ramokgopa said.

    “We appeal to members of the public to cooperate with our officials who may be required to impose extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of all citizens and other persons descending upon our city to express their condolences and mourn the fall of our nation’s founding father.”

    Meanwhile, Tshwane city manager Jason Ngobeni told the Independent Online that the city’s official memorial service would be held at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, on Thursday.

    The pubic will be able to follow proceedings on giant screens at the following public viewing venues in the Pretoria area: the Mabopane indoor centre, the Giant Stadium in Soshanguve, the Suurman Community Hall in Hammanskraal, the Absa Sports Ground in Olivenhoutbosch, the Refilwe community hall, the University of Pretoria Mamelodi Campus, and the Bronkhorstspruit Sports Complex.