8 December 2013
Speaker: Joint media briefing to provide for updates on the funeral preparations - we are joined by the family and a team of ministers and the municipality mayor of the City of Johannesburg. I will quickly just give the names of the team that is joining me - we’ve got Minister Chabane who is going to make a presentation and a statement on the updates. He is supported by Ministers Peters and Minister Maite and we also have Mayor Parks from the City of Johannesburg. We also have General Matanzima who is representing the family and Mr Ndaba Mandela.
Minister Collins Chabane: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to this latest update on the preparations for the State Funeral for our beloved President. We are pleased to have with us this afternoon the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters, the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg Mr Parks Tau. We had hoped we would also be joined by Tshwane. They may join us in due course but if they don’t we’ll make special arrangements for you to interact with Tshwane Metro. These leaders are here to provide closer details of some of the logistics in and around the two cities, as well as South Africa’s hosting of the large number of international dignitaries who have begun to arrive. We will in this briefing provide more information on some of the arrangements on which we reported yesterday. But we do again want to start by thanking people around the country and the world for their warm and generous responses in the wake of the passing of our beloved President Mandela. These demonstrations of love and affection will go a long way to entrenching our memories of Madiba and in shaping the way we live and work with one another as human beings in this country and beyond. What we have seen over the past few days reflects the true spirit of South Africa as a place where people of all backgrounds are working together to create a non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous society. These efforts are creating the hope that we will achieve even greater things than we have during the first 20 Years of Freedom. I now want to turn to the update on the programme over the next few hours and days. With regard to the prayer services, this morning government has been heartened by the positive response of various communities of faith and other civil society formations to President Jacob Zuma’s call for today to be observed as a day of prayer and reflection. We are aware that a large number of events are being held in South Africa and abroad today, giving people an opportunity to come together in fellowship and reflection. We hope these events will bring comfort and healing to congregants and participants, and that it will inspire all of humanity to ensure that Madiba’s values live on in our hearts and in our actions. As these events take place, government agencies will be hard at work making preparations for the rest of the week’s official programme. From today we will see the arrival of a large contingent of Heads of State and Government and a broad range of eminent persons, including royalty. The fact that international leaders are making their way to South Africa at such short notice, reflects the special place President Mandela holds in the hearts of people around the globe. We are touched by the fact that many countries have declared periods of mourning, ordered that flags be flown at half-mast and draped or lit landmarks in the colours of the South African flag. We truly appreciate these gestures. We appreciate the willingness showed by a broad range of eminent persons to come to South Africa to join us personally at this time of mourning, reflection and celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy. To date, 13 African states have confirmed attendance, in addition to 15 from outside the continent. International and regional organisations from the United Nations and European Commission to the African Union, for example, have also confirmed attendance. Eleven eminent Persons will also be in South Africa during this period. From the United States, President and Mrs Obama will be accompanied by three former Presidents – President Carter, President Bush President Clinton and their spouses, and 26 Congressmen and women. The Brazilian President, Ms Dilma Rousseff, will be accompanied by four former Heads of State: Presidents Sarney, Melo, Cardoso and Lula da Silva. We expect more confirmations, and we wish to reiterate that our international guests are most welcome as they join us at this difficult time. The official memorial service at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, on Tuesday, December 10. The event will begin formally at 11h00. Gates will open early at 6h00. This is an international event that will be attended by members of the public alongside national and international leaders. The President of the Republic of South Africa will address the official memorial service. The programme will also include tributes by Heads of State from the various regions of the globe, the continent and representatives of international and regional organisations. Eminent persons will also address the gathering. 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.
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. Government is doing all it can to allow as many people as possible to be part of these official events, but there are limits to how many people we can reasonably accommodate. Members of the public who want to attend the National Memorial Service at FNB or other stadiums must plan their trips carefully, leave early and use public transport. No cars will be allowed in the vicinity of FNB Stadium. There will be road closures around FNB Stadium and no cars will be allowed at the stadium. Some of the road closures have already been listed on various government websites. There will also be road closures on Tuesday morning around Orlando Stadium, Ellis Park and Dobsonville stadiums. Mourners to FNB Stadium can travel by Metrorail from all major stations in Gauteng. They will also be able to travel by Gautrain to Park Station and transfer to Metrorail to FNB Stadium. People will also be able to walk from the surrounding areas to the stadium. A special Rea Vaya service will also be in operation. The City of Johannesburg has a number of Park and Ride sites for FNB Stadium, Ellis Park and Orlando Stadium. Members of the public must watch the media, visit websites and follow broadcast media for details. The City of Johannesburg has also established Mourning Sites at various locations but the City will provide more details in its own briefing here shortly. With regard to the public viewing areas, we must emphasise that also on Tuesday, provincial authorities will be hosting various events around the country where people are invited to come together to view the national event at FNB Stadium on big screens. These public viewing areas, which are normally activated during national events such as the State of the Nation Address, will be similar to the “fan parks” that were in place during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Around 90 big screens will be set up by Government Communications Information System (GCIS) and partners in all provinces. We expect this number will increase as provincial plans are consolidated later this afternoon and tomorrow. Some of the big screens will be live from Tuesday 10 December to Monday 16 December, which is Day of Reconciliation. 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. Details of the sites where books of condolence have been opened have been posted on the government memorial website, www.mandela.gov.za. Details of the public viewing areas for Tuesday’s provincial events will be posted on government websites and social media later today and tomorrow morning. With regard to the Lying in State, the procession will leave 1 Military Hospital at 7h00 daily and President Mandela’s body will be on view from 8h00. 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 12h00 to 17h30.
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. Two sites in Pretoria will be used as points from which mourners will be shuttled to the Union Buildings and back. No other access will be possible. Mourners are also advised that cellphones will need to be off and out of sight as mourners file past the body. Government reiterates its appeal for members of the public to line the memorial route each morning to form a public guard of honour. The public guard of honour will not apply in the evening. With regard to preparations in the Eastern Cape in Qunu more information will be released in the coming days about arrangements for the laying to rest of President Mandela at Qunu in the Eastern Cape. However, it is worth noting that South African Airways will operate a special air transport service to ferry mourners who will attend the funeral of the world icon and former president Nelson Mandela in the Eastern Cape. This special service – for which travellers will pay - will cater for mourners who will attend the funeral and the service will also be available on the return leg of their travel. The special service does not replace and will not disrupt SAA’s existing daily operations to the Eastern Cape – except that airspace will be restricted around Mthatha Airport. Information about the readiness of the Airports Company of South Africa to manage passengers and aircraft during this period has been compiled into a fact sheet. This fact sheet is available on the official government memorial website, www.mandela.gov.za. In addition to regular press conferences and briefings government is also posting information regularly on the following websites:
www.facebook.com/GovernmentZA and both the Twitter platforms of the GCIS.
Government also advises people to check the websites and social media accounts of provincial and municipal government for intermittent updates on the preparations and the events as they unfold. Thank you.
Speaker: Thank you Minister. Can I invite General Matanzima to read out a statement. May I also indicate that the general and the members of the family will not take questions. They will just read out the statement.
General Matanzima: Thank you. Honourable Ministers, the Executive Mayor, members of the media. On behalf of the Mandela family we take this opportunity to extend our sincere gratitude to the religious community for its thoughts and prayers extended to our family through prayer and meditation. Indeed, our burden of pain and sorrow is daily being lessened by the outpouring of national and international grief for our father, the elder. We have always been mindful that we shared Tata with the rest of South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world. Our mothers Graca Machel and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela are cognisant of the love, support, care, prayers and meditation extended to the family in the different forms and manner during this hour of need. Both our mothers, Graca Machel and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela express their conviction that Nelson Mandela, like a flower, will continue to blossom forever in all your hearts. The family of our departed dear father is comforted in the knowledge that the world so deeply shares our sense of loss for one of Africa’s greatest sons. We are melancholy but we do not despair. Instead, we are filled with hope. Part of us is indeed gone forever, but he has left us enduring lessons and examples of what must be continued, what must be intensified, what must be ended and what must still be strived for. Though he answered to the name father, husband, granddad, son and statesman, we all understood ultimately that Tata remains an inspiration not only to us but the rest of humanity. We were privileged and honoured to share part of his being. A profound mix of sadness, pride and gratitude is the strongest emotion we share as a family but we are blessed to be associated with this great icon and to have a role in perpetuating his legacy which he gifted humanity, as the most precious birthright which is bestowed on us all. As we lift our eyes to the dawn of a new era without a family elder at our side we hope you will join us with all the passion, fever, prayer and support with which you will help us mourn his passing and to keep his dream alive. Keep Nelson Mandela’s dream alive. Let us pledge to keep Mandela’s dream alive in the way in which we honour the humanity in each other and the way in which we solve our most difficult problems and in the way in which we raise up the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalised. In this regard, we enter into a covenant with you the people of our country, Africa and citizens of the world that we’ll be true to the values and ideals which Tata stood for and was prepared to pay the supreme price. As a family we have no option except to be bound by these values. Let the word go here from hence that we dare not fail and we know and know too well that you the people of the world will not fail Madiba. May we also use this opportunity to inform the South Africa public that our king, the King of the Tembu nation Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo and his delegation is visiting the family today, Sunday 8th December 2013 to comfort and counsel and to apprise himself of the funeral and burial arrangements. I thank you.
Speaker: Thanks General. At this point I’m going to invite Mayor Park Tau who will also read out a statement.
Mayor Park Tau: Thank you very much and good afternoon to everybody. I will try not to repeat some of what the minister has said, save to indicate a number of issues that we think are of public importance with regards to the arrangements for the memorial service on Tuesday. As Minister Chabane indicated, there will be no private transportation to the FNB Stadium, neither will there be a night vigil on Monday, therefore access to the stadium would only be from the morning of Tuesday. Various transport arrangements have been made to be able to access the FNB Stadium. With regard to the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System there will be no normal Rea Vaya BRT buses on Tuesday. All buses on the routes of Rea Vaya will be dedicated towards mourners to access the stadiums that have been announced. Mourners will also be able to access the Gautrain to Park Station and access Metrorail services to Nasrec Station and similarly be able to access Rea Vaya BRT from Park Station. We are cognisant of the fact that attendance at FNB Stadium will be on a ‘first-come, first-serve’ basis and anticipate that additional services for transportation would be required at the other memorial sites that have been identified. Public transportation will be made available to access Ellis Park Stadium using amongst others, Metrorail, Rea Vaya, PUTCO and Metrobus services. Similarly additional transportation would be made available for people to access the Orlando Stadium and Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto. With regard to the Orlando Stadium, Metrorail services together with Rea Vaya will be made available. And with regard to accessing both the Orlando Stadium and Dobsonville Stadium the following sites have been made available to the public - PUTCO will be accessible from Protea Glen, Merafe, Molapo, Bara/Diepkloof, Chiawelo, Mapetla, Dube and Meadowlands. Furthermore, there will be supplementary bus services available to go to the Dobsonville Stadium from Emdeni, Naledi, Dobsonville, Orange Farm, Silvertown and Braamfisher. The following roads will be closed:
N1 and Rand Show Road:
N1 and Soweto Highway:
N1 and N17:
N1 and Nasrec offramp:
Greenwood Rd and Booysens Reserve, and
Nasrec and Main Reef Roads.
There are additional mourning sites that have been activated as of today and in these sites there will be live television coverage in the various parts of the city of Johannesburg. People could be able to access these sites close to their neighbourhoods and these are the sites that you can access including on the day of mourning, and every single day in fact, including on the day of the funeral - the Diepkloof Extreme Makeover Park, Thokoza Park, Orange Farm Regional Park, the Krematart Park in Eldorado Park, and Innisfree Park in Sandton, Ivory Park, the Diepsloot Park, Joubert Park in the CBD, Rose Park in Lenasia, Tanzania Park in Cosmo City and Orlando West Regional Park. Thank you very much.