Media release

Nelson Mandela State Funeral factsheet

13 December 2013

13 December 2013

(NOTE TO EDITORS: This factsheet provides a little more detail that supports the State Funeral update given by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters at Mthatha at 18h00 today on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Committee coordinating the State Funeral of former President Nelson Mandela. Two maps showing Mthatha road closures and traffic diversions in the region around Qunu are provided that will also be posted on and )


President Mandela’s body will be transported to Air Force Base Waterkloof from 1 Military Hospital, Thaba Tshwane.

  • The programme at Air Force Base Waterkloof runs from 07h00 to 09h30 at the Air Force Base.
  • There will be a handover from South African National Defence Force to the African National Congress (ANC) for the ruling party’s farewell ceremony.
  • The casket will be draped in the National Flag. The ANC flag will be draped over the casket at the stage of the proceedings when the body is handed to the ruling party. After the ruling party’s proceedings the casket will be re-draped in the National Flag.
  • After this, the body will be returned to the South African National Defence Force so that preparations can be made for the flight to Mthatha.
  • Elders will accompany the body to the Eastern Cape.


At Mthatha, President Mandela’s body will be received with full military honours. This will take place around 13h00.

After rituals have been conducted, the military procession will make its way through the town of Mthatha along the following route:

  • From the airport, along the R61, to Sutherland Street, York Road, Nelson Mandela Drive, and onto the N2 to Qunu, 46km from the airport.

People will be able to line the entire route to Qunu behind barriers formed by members of the security forces.


Road closures are already in effect at the following places:

  • When travelling to Mthatha from Kokstad/Durban, at the N2 Tsolo Junction traffic will be diverted to the R396 to Maclear;
  • In Mthatha at the Shell Ultra City traffic will also be diverted to the R61.
  • When travelling from East London to Mthatha, traffic on the N2 at Ndabakazi will be diverted to Tsomo onto the R61. Traffic at  Idutywa on the N2 will be diverted to Engcobo on to the R61

Mthatha is still accessible via the R61, but we advise commuters not to travel to Mthatha unless absolutely necessary.

  • Upon arrival at the Mandela family farm, rituals will again be conducted and the body of the former President will be handed to the ruling party. Following further rituals, the body will be presented to the Mandela family.
  • A night vigil by the ruling party at Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha on Saturday. Leadership of the ruling party and government will participate in this event.


All guests / delegates should be at the main marquee at on family farm Qunu by 07h00.

A Park and Ride shuttle service for people accredited to attend the funeral will start from the Walter Sisulu University Zamukulungisa Campus at 5am. Guests must use this shuttle service, as no vehicles whatsoever will be admitted to the Qunu area.

The funeral programme starts at 08h00 and ends at 10h00.

At 10h00 close family members and few invited delegates of the family move to the burial site.

The rest of the guests will remain in the marquee.

The funeral service will end at 12h00.

Buses for guests and delegates will depart to East London airport from 16h00.


Park and Ride facilities are available at Walter Sisulu University until Tuesday 17 December 2013. No vehicles whatsoever will be allowed into the area around Qunu Village.

The contacts for road-related transport are:

  • Ms Matlhodi Senyatsi, Cell: 079 834 9207
  • Mr Linda Salie 0823062661

For South African Airways flight information, the contacts are:

  • Toll free number - 0800 214 774
  • Landline number - 011 978 6699
  • Alternative contact person: Mpumi (Ramphele) Mashinini, Key Account Manager: Government Sales, Tel: +27 11 978 3696, +27 11 83 283 6951 or Email:

Please note the office hours are from 06h00 to 22h00.



Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) 

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