Qunu prepares to receive Mandela’s body

2013-12-13 19:50

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Traffic outside Mthatha towards Qunu was blocked as dozens of military, police and VIP officials had a dry run for Mandela’s arrival tomorrow morning.

The area was in lockdown as military vehicles closed off the intersection leading out of the town.

People were standing on the side of the N2 toward Qunu holding hands as the rehearsal procession drove past. The traffic control officials had to direct traffic from as far as the airport where the procession had started.

People excitedly spoke among themselves, wearing Mandela T-shirts and holding posters and banners bearing the former statesman’s picture.

The body is expected to arrive at 12.45pm tomorrow and will be driven through the Mthatha streets before it is taken home to Qunu. The N2 to his house will be blocked off to all traffic as the vehicle carrying his body passes through a human chain.

The airport, which is still under construction, was decked out with drapes and Madiba banners.

On Thursday, the police and security personnel patrolled the airport as handymen boarded up and painted the unsightly areas of the ongoing construction.

Dignitaries have started arriving in Mthatha this afternoon, including Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane and National Empowerment Fund Chief Executive Philisiwe Mthethwa.

City Press understands that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela should be arriving with some of her children and grandchildren later this evening.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is expected to arrive in Mthatha tomorrow.

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