Mourners say last farewell to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, all systems go for funeral

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  • Law enforcement agencies have put safety plans in place for the funeral of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
  • Tutu's funeral will be held at St George's Cathedral on Saturday. 
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the eulogy. 

Several road closures and strict security measures have been put in place ahead of the official funeral of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Saturday.

Many events were held leading up to Tutu's official funeral at St George's Cathedral. 

In a statement on Friday, the City of Cape Town said motorists have been advised to find alternative routes or avoid the cathedral precinct entirely, if possible. 

"A number of roads, including Wale and Adderley streets, will be closed on Saturday," it added in a statement.

"The City reminds the public that a viewing space has been made available on the Grand Parade for the funeral service of the late Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu. Access to this area will be via the entrance to the Grand Parade along Castle Street."

READ | Tributes continue to pour in for Desmond Tutu, funeral set for Saturday

The City said there would be no general public access to the area around the cathedral.

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure said various law enforcement agencies and government departments within the Justice Crime Prevention and Security cluster had been meeting daily to ensure a safe and secure official funeral was delivered. 

Scores of mourners made their way to the cathedral on Friday to pay their last respects to the Arch.

Tutu's remains were lying in repose for the last two days. His family also arrived at the cathedral to see him.

The family also engaged with mourners queuing to bid farewell to Tutu.

The family also visited the memorial wall erected next to the cathedral. 

Speaking to News24, the acting chairperson of the Desmond Tutu Intellectual Property Trust, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, said she was thankful to those who came out in their numbers to celebrate the archbishop. 

She said: 
I feel good because Tutu is feeling good. He is smiling at us; he was a man of the people, and he loved the crowd. This stream of people coming in to celebrate him just simply puts the mark on who the man was.

Ramphele added it was all systems go for his final farewell. 

"It will be straightforward, very modest as he wanted it. You won't see any long convoy of black cars he would say you have your family car use it," she said. 

Many mourners who had been on holiday in Cape Town also came to pay their respects to Tutu. 

READ | Safety measures in place for Archbishop Desmond Tutu's funeral

John Jennings from Scotland said it was emotionally triggering seeing him. 

"It's very hard to see and the realisation of what an incredible person he was," he added. 

Glisson Niekerk from the US said: 
When I saw his body, it reminded me about the simplicity of life, and we should appreciate the small things.

Tutu will be cremated, and his ashes will be interred beneath the cathedral.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the eulogy. 
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