Business

South African business to close for Mandela's funeral

Jaco Visser, Andre Janse van Vuuren, Janice Kew

Enterprises ranging from retailers to mines and bank headquarters will close for the former president's funeral.

Shoprite Holdings, the nation’s biggest grocer, is one of many businesses which will shut its doors on the day of Nelson Mandela's funeral. (Reuters)

South African businesses, including shops owned by Wal-Mart Stores,  Massmart Holdings unit and a mine owned by Kumba Iron Ore, will be closed on the day of former president Nelson Mandela's funeral.

Shoprite Holdings, the nation's biggest grocer, will also shut on the day of the funeral, Sarita van Wyk, a spokesperson for the company, said by email. All banks will close their head offices, branches and other premises on the day, the Banking Association of South Africa said on December 6.

"This decision, which we have taken in consultation with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will enable our staff to spend time with their families on the day of Madiba's funeral and honour a great statesman in ensuring that his legacy continues," Massmart said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

Mandela died peacefully at the age of 95 on December 5 at his home in Johannesburg. He served as South Africa's first democratically elected president between 1994 and 1999 and spent 27 years in jail for fighting against apartheid.

Kumba, which operates the Sishen mine, the largest iron-ore operation in Africa, will also be closed for three hours on Tuesday, when a memorial service will be held for Mandela at Johannesburg stadiums, Gert Schoeman, spokesperson of the Anglo American unit said by phone on Monday. The mine will be shut for the same period on December 15 when Mandela is buried in his hometown of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange halted trading for five minutes on December 6 to pay tribute to Mandela. – Bloomberg

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