Hotels cleared for VIP Mandela guests

2013-12-09 14:24

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Hotels around Sandton are completely booked out for the next few days – and at least one says it’s because of a state memorial service for Nelson Mandela tomorrow.

Dignitaries, among them sitting heads of state and former leaders, as well as religious leaders and members of groups like Mandela’s The Elders, are expected to flock to Johannesburg today and early tomorrow for the service, to be held at the FNB Stadium.

Bloomberg News tweeted earlier that guests were being asked to vacate hotels in Sandton as high profile mourners arrive.

At the Sandton Sun, a receptionist said: “Due to the funeral of Mr Nelson Mandela we’re fully booked up until the 20th of December.”

She said that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation – Dirco – had “taken over between the 10th until the 20th”.

There were a few rooms still available at the Garden Court Hotel in Sandton City, but a woman who identified herself only as Gladys said the Melrose Hotel was “sold out completely” until further notice.

The posh Michaelangelo, too, was “fully booked”, a receptionist there said.

Journalists at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria, which heads of state are expected to fly into from about 3pm, said they had been told that guests would be accommodated, for the most part, in Pretoria and Sandton.

Dirco earlier released a statement revealing which heads of state had confirmed their attendance. The full list is available at http://www.dirco.gov.za/docs/2013/mandela1209.html.

The department’s spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a tweet that the list was being regularly updated and may change.

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