Mandela Memorial Service and other arrangements: All you need to know

Sunday, December 8, 2013
Amukelani Chauke

Johannesburg – The Memorial Service for the late former President Nelson Mandela will start at 11am at the FNB stadium, in Soweto, on Tuesday.

Briefing the media on the arrangements for the memorial service, Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane, said the stadium’s gates will open at 6am and mourners and sympathisers have been advised to use public transport to the venue as no cars will be allowed in the stadium precinct on the day.

“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,” he said.

With many people expected to attend the memorial service at the stadium, which has a capacity of just over 90 000, Chabane said attendance to the service will be granted on a first come first serve basis, and urged members of the public who won’t get space to use other viewing sites or to follow proceedings on SABC’s live broadcasts.

“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,” he said.

Lying in state

Mandela’s body will be stationed at the Amphitheatre at the Union Buildings daily from Wednesday, 11 October to 13 October.

He said the procession will leave the 1 Military Hospital daily at 7am and will be on display 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 midday to 5:30pm.

“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,” he said.

Public viewing areas

Chabane said 90 public viewing areas will be activated from Tuesday, 10 December and will stay on until 16 December on Reconciliation Day.

He said he expected the number to increase as the provincial plans get consolidated.

“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,” he said.

International Arrivals

Later in the briefing, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said her ministry had received an overwhelming number of confirmations of attendance from Presidents and former Presidents.

“We again thank the international communities for the overwhelming messages of condolences and sympathies that we have been receiving on behalf of the Mandela family, government and people of SA.

“We now have confirmations from 53 Heads of State, Heads of Government and also a list of former Presidents, former heads of governments, eminent persons from all over Africa and all over the world,” she said.

She said a programme for the memorial service was being finalised, and would be presented to the Mandela family and government, and once signed off, would be “immediately” posted on the government website.

Members of the public are urged to visit for updates on the memorial service and the funeral. -