SA business to close for Mandela’s funeral

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

Shoprite Holdings Ltd., the nation’s biggest grocer, will also shut on the day of the funeral, Sarita van Wyk, a spokeswoman for the company, said by e-mail.

All banks will close their head offices, branches and other premises on the day, the Banking Association of South Africa said 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 honor a great statesman in ensuring that his legacy continues,” Massmart said in an e-mailed statement today, using Mandela’s clan name.

Mandela died peacefully at the age of 95 on December 5 at his home in Johannesburg.

He served as South Africa’s first black 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 tomorrow, when a memorial service will be held for Mandela at Johannesburg stadiums, Gert Schoeman, spokesman of the Anglo American Plc unit said by phone today.

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 News

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