/ 9 December 2013

Foreign leaders advised not to attend Mandela’s Qunu funeral

Minister in the presidency Collins Chabane.
Minister in the presidency Collins Chabane.

Foreign heads of state and dignitaries will not be stopped from attending former president Nelson Mandela's funeral in Qunu, but are advised not to, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said on Monday.

"Nobody will be prevented from attending … , however, given the size and the scale of the operation and the size of the delegation and the limited infrastructure in the area, we advise [against it]," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

The venue in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, where Mandela will be buried on Sunday could take only 5 000 people. Chabane said that because the site was in a rural area, the facilities in the area would not be able to accommodate the numbers.

He said foreign guests should "take that advice very seriously".

Meanwhile, more than 100 heads of state, government officials, and royals have confirmed they will be attending the memorial for Mandela at the FNB Stadium, in Soweto, on Tuesday.

More than 100 dignitaries from around the world have confirmed they will attend the memorial service for Mandela, Chabane said. "By noon today, 91 heads of state and 10 former heads of state confirmed they will attend the memorial at FNB Stadium," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

"Kings and queens, princes and princesses will also join us."

About 1 500 journalists have been accredited to cover former president Nelson Mandela's memorial service at FNB Stadium. 

"We issued permits to 1 500 media professionals by 5am this morning," Chabane said.

Local and international media queued at the expo centre in Nasrec on Sunday to get access to the memorial and other events. – Sapa