Mad rush to get Mthatha ready for Mandela’s funeral

By Kirstin Buick
11 December 2013

Mthatha is a hive of activity ahead of Madiba’s Qunu funeral, writes YOU journalist Asa Sokopo from the Eastern Cape

The world’s eyes will turn to the Eastern Cape as Madiba will be buried in his hometown, Qunu, on Sunday.

Roads leading to Mthatha are currently under construction. A 2km stretch of the N2 has already been blocked off – 500m on the East London side of Mandela’s house and 1,5km on the Mthatha side.

There’s also been a mad rush to complete the multimillion-rand upgrade to the N2 between Qunu and Mthatha, which have been underway since 2011.

Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet appealed to residents of the Eastern Cape to be understanding of traffic diversions during this period.

Mthatha’s airport will be used exclusively for landing of heads of states and Port Elizabeth and East London’s airports will be open to VIPs and the public, she said.

The Mthatha airport has undergone a R465 million upgrade, which includes the expansion of the runway and a new terminal building.

“VVIPs attending the funeral will be driven by luxury coach to Qunu to avoid [congestion] on the N2,” Kiviet said. “Since other public mourning activities and the state funeral would not be accessible to everyone, we have identified public viewing mourning areas where people can view footage of the event.”

Eighteen mourning areas would be available to the public in the Eastern Cape: OR Tambo, Nelson Mandela Bay, Bufallo City, Chris Hani, Queenstown, Joe Gqabi, Cacadu, Alfred Nzo and Amathole districts.

Additional info from Sapa

By Asa Sokopo (@asasokopo)

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