This is a great day for SA - Mthethwa

2013-12-10 10:23
People take their seats for the memorial service for Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto. (Peter Dejong, AP)

People take their seats for the memorial service for Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto. (Peter Dejong, AP)

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Johannesburg - It is a great day for South Africa, as people all across the world commemorate the late former president Nelson Mandela, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.

"It's a great day for us," he said.

"We owe everything we have and we know [to Mandela]."

Mthethwa was speaking ahead of the memorial service to be held at the FNB Stadium in the south of Johannesburg.

Scores of people, including local and international media, had already entered the stadium ahead of the service.


"We are feeling humbled by the international support," said Mthethwa.

He said Mandela was shaped by what he represented.

"The movement he belonged to is a movement for the people."

Mthethwa said Mandela was characterised by good values, and he had been privileged to have had grown up in Mandela's time.

"We who have been around him from a young age, we have really benefited a lot from him."

He said Mandela had taught them principles of openness and values of humanity.

Mthethwa told eNCA news that security plans were in place.

SA under test

"The capacity of the country is under test; everyone is watching us around the globe. How we are doing? Are we capable?," he told the television news station.

"We know we are up to it."

He said if things were to go wrong, "it can affect a lot of things".

He said all possible scenarios had been considered and prepared for.

Earlier, police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi told eNCA that private security was also being used.

"We are talking about Madiba here, so there is no margin for error."

He said the various heads of state expected at the service were due to arrive an hour before proceedings began at 11:00.

On a rainy Tuesday morning, the stadium began rapidly filling up as many people sang, blew vuvuzelas, and danced in remembrance of Mandela.

Two stages were set up on the side of the pitch.

Mandela died surrounded by family at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday, at the age of 95.

He will be buried in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, on Sunday.

Share your thoughts and photos of the Mandela memorial service

- 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


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