People stream in for Mandela’s last day lying in state

2013-12-13 07:23
(Filippo Monteforte, AFP)

(Filippo Monteforte, AFP)

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Pretoria - Members of the public lined Kgosi Mampuru Street in Pretoria on Friday morning, hoping to see the cortege transporting the body of former president Nelson Mandela from One Military Hospital to the Union Buildings.

Before 6am, crowds formed next to the metal barricades in the street, manned by hundreds of police officers.

Several hundred more police officers walked along Bosman Street to join their colleagues on Kgosi Mampuru Street.

Across town, outside the One Military Hospital, numerous local and international journalists parked near the main exit. Some set up broadcast cameras.

Members of the public also lined Voortrekker Road, adjacent to the hospital, and numerous soldiers milled around near the entrance, checking all vehicles.

With no road blockages around the hospital, traffic was flowing seamlessly at 06:00.

Members of the public were invited to line the route and form a guard of honour from the hospital to the Union Buildings, where Mandela's body will lie in state for the third and final day.

Memorial services

People can view the body from 8:00 to 17:30.

Several memorial services will take place throughout the country on Friday to honour the former president.

Venues include Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto, Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, Delft Sports Stadium in Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Stadium in East London, and a yet unconfirmed venue in Kimberley.

Mandela's body lay in state on Wednesday and Thursday at the seat of government, where he was sworn in as the country's first democratically elected president almost 20 years ago.

The City of Tshwane said over 20 000 people queued on Thursday for a chance to pay their last respects to Mandela.

The park-and-ride facilities for transport to the public viewing closed shortly after 3pm, after reaching full capacity.

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, last Thursday at the age of 95.

His body will be taken to the Eastern Cape on Saturday. He will be buried in a state funeral on Sunday in Qunu, where he spent much of his childhood.

Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at Remembered.co.za.

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.

- SAPA

Read more on:    nelson mandela
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