Media release

Statement by Minister Collins Chabane on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on State Funerals on the arrangements of President Nelson Mandela's State Funeral

07 December 2013

Fellow South Africans
Ladies and gentlemen of the media

Welcome to this briefing where we want to give an update on how preparations for the State Funeral of our beloved former President Nelson Mandela are unfolding.

To begin with, we want to express our sincere appreciation to the people of South Africa and our friends and partners internationally for the generosity, kindness and warmth with which millions of people have responded to the news of the passing of our first democratically elected President.

We have witnessed extraordinary scenes of support and celebration of the life of Madiba at various centres around South Africa and the world. We have witnessed overwhelming responses at our missions abroad and domestically. We greatly appreciate these demonstrations of humanity and solidarity.

We will outline in this briefing a number of government-managed events in which members of the public are encouraged to participate. This will be supplemented by hundreds of events that will take place in provinces and in communities.

Government welcomes these events as part of the worldwide celebration of Madiba’s life and would like to encourage all people from all walks of life to support these events.

This briefing is the first in a series of updates that will be given by the Inter-Ministerial Committee responsible for this historic, unprecedented State Funeral.

We go into this period with grief and sadness but also with fortitude, continuity and hope in the future that Madiba wished this great country would enjoy.

We are confident that the spirit of Ubuntu will permeate the collective, global celebration of an extraordinary leader and self-sacrificing son of our country.


The Inter-Ministerial Committee represents Cabinet’s oversight over and coordination of a range of processes whose day-to-day management will be led by the National Joint Operational Centre (NATJOC) of South Africa’s security forces.

It is the norm that at events of this magnitude and importance, the South African Police Service, the South African National Defence Force, Metro Police, intelligence agencies and representatives of various departments and entities jointly plan operations and marshal resources.

hroughout this process, government will be in close contact with the Mandela family to ensure that all events conform to the family’s wishes and are culturally compliant.

We now wish to turn to the specifics of the days ahead.

Today, Saturday 7 December 2013: preparing for lying-in-state

As we speak today, President Mandela’s body is being prepared by the Military Health Service of the South African National Defence Force to lie in state at the Union Buildings from Wednesday, 11 December, to Friday, 13 December.

While this is happening, work is underway at critical venues such as the Union Buildings; FNB Stadium in Johannesburg; Mthatha and Qunu in the Eastern Cape, and at ports of entry to prepare for the events related to the State Funeral.

Tomorrow, Sunday 8 December 2013: Day of prayer and reflection

Government reiterates the call by President Jacob Zuma for the nation to use tomorrow as a national day of prayer and reflection in places of worship, homes and communities to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela and the legacy he has left.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013: Official memorial service

This is the day on which an official memorial service at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, will be attended by members of the public, VIPs and VVIPs.

This will give ordinary people and public leaders an opportunity to celebrate Madiba’s life collectively.

Government is requesting provincial authorities to coordinate provincial activities and help secure transport for mourners wishing to attend the memorial service.

This event will be attended by a number of visiting Heads of State and Government. Government is in the process of briefing the diplomatic corps to facilitate the attendance of visiting leaders.

Government wish to announce that the following roads and interchanges near the venue will be closed and controlled by law enforcement agencies:

  • N1 and Rand Show Road
  • N1 and Soweto Highway
  • N1 and 17
  • N1 and Nasrec offramp
  • Greenwood Rd and Booysens Reserve, and
  • Nasrec and Main Reef Roads

We request mourners to give the organising authorities their fullest cooperation, as we endeavour to ensure that the memorial service and other events are dignified, befitting for Madiba.

Further details will be provided as they become available.

Wednesday, 11 December to Friday 13 December: Lying-in-state

South Africans and selected international visitors and guests will be able to view President Mandela’s remains at the Union Buildings for three days from Wednesday, 11 December.

President Mandela’s remains will be transported daily between 1 Military Hospital, Thaba Tshwane, and the Union Buildings.

Details of this route and times will be provided in due course. Government invites mourners to line this route and form a public guard of honour for Tata Madiba when the remains are transported.

Again, we call on members of the public to cooperate with the authorities to ensure that this event is dignified and secure.

Away from the memorial route, members of the public wishing to pay their final respects will be shuttled to the Union Buildings from two central venues in Tshwane that will be announced in due course.

Only mourners who report to these venues will be allowed to visit the Union Buildings and view the remains.

Mourners are advised that cameras, including cellphones will not be allowed at the Union Buildings. Mourners are advised not to bring cameras and cellphones in their possession.

Saturday 14 December 2013: Focus on the Eastern Cape

On Saturday, 14 December, the former President’s remains will be transported to the Eastern Cape from Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria, where the ruling party will bid Madiba farewell.

Also on this day, a procession will take place from Mthatha to Qunu where the Thembu community will conduct a traditional ceremony.

Sunday, 15 December 2013: State Funeral, Qunu

On Sunday, 15 December, a funeral service and interment ceremony will take place at President Mandela’s home and final resting place at Qunu in the Eastern Cape.


The public is advised that all the venues; Mandela Houses, FNB Stadium, Union Buildings and all other venues will be cordoned off and accessed will be controlled.

Government would like to announce that most of the key events will be broadcast live on television, throughout this period and mourners around the country and the world will therefore be able to follow these events day by day.

This will help to reduce congestion and potential disaster at key venues.

A number of public viewing areas are being established at various points around the country to allow as many people as possible to follow and witness these historic occasions.

Condolence Books in which people can record their tributes, are also available at municipal, provincial and other government offices around the country, as well as South Africa’s diplomatic missions abroad.

Information about condolence book sites can be obtained from the offices of Premiers in the provinces and from local government offices. Details of these sites are also being posted on national, provincial and municipal websites as well as social media accounts of government.

All the key venues to which we have been referred will be managed by security and law enforcement authorities and we repeat our request for people to continue to cooperate with these authorities who will cordon off large spaces around the key venues.


The outline provided so far will be updated in the coming days as new information – including times, venues, movement of people, names of visiting dignitaries, estimates of crowd sizes or other details – emerges.

Government will keep South Africans and the international community updated as completely and transparently as possible, in order to make this farewell to the late President as inclusive and popular as possible.

Meanwhile, media and the public are invited to find intermittent updates and various packages of information on: , and the various social media accounts associated with these sites:


Phumla Williams
Cabinet Spokesperson/Acting Chief Executive Officer, GCIS
083 5010 139

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