High security at Union Buildings

By Drum Digital
11 December 2013

Law enforcement will be heightened over the three days the body of former president Nelson Mandela lies in state at the Union Buildings.

Law enforcement will be heightened over the three days the body of former president Nelson Mandela lies in state at the Union Buildings, Tshwane metro police said on Wednesday.

“We have previously said we will be ready, and indeed we are. There are no incidents that have been reported so far. We are in a funeral environment, you can see I am not even carrying my firearm," Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said.

He commended the behaviour of the people coming to view Madiba's body.

"Everyone is free to join us here, but I am not saying we are relaxed as police officers. In case of any eventuality, we are ready to deal with it."

He said the Tshwane metro police were being helped by the SA Police Service, Gauteng traffic police, and several other agencies.

"Systems are in place for crime prevention. We are happy with the behaviour of the community up until this far. There is no riot or anything of that sort from the crowd."

Hundreds of people waved South African flags and sang and danced along Stanza Bopape (former Church) Street. Some carried large posters with photos of Madiba's face.

Police officers and soldiers were outside the Union Buildings. Police vehicles, military lorries, and even tanks were parked in the area.

Several military helicopters hovered above the seat of government, where Mandela served as the first president of a democratic South Africa from 1994.

Mandela will lie in state until Friday. The public are allowed to view the body from noon on Wednesday. President Jacob Zuma and various dignitaries are expected to pay their respects to Mandela before the public are allowed in.

The statesman died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, at the age of 95 on Thursday.

The official memorial service was held at the FNB Stadium, Soweto on Tuesday. Mandela will be buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

-by Sapa

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