Media briefed on Mandela funeral

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Soldiers patrolling near Nelson Mandela's homestead in Qunu. Picture: Cindy Waxa

Qunu - The Mthatha airport, East London Airport and Nelson Mandela's homestead in Qunu will be controlled by government ahead of the former president's funeral, it emerged on Friday.

“I would like for you to appreciate that the Eastern Cape and the events that are going to take place here - we have space constraints,” government communications spokeswoman Neo Momodu told journalists in Qunu.

This was the reason the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) had erected the media centre at the Nelson Mandela museum in Qunu.

She said this was to accommodate the over 4000 accredited journalists.

At the East London Airport, where many dignitaries would arrive, only public broadcaster the SABC, two local and two international photographers, and two local and two international scribes would be allowed to provide pool copy.

Due to space constraints at Mthatha Airport, the same procedures would be in place when Mandela's body arrived.

The times had yet to be confirmed, she said.

“Only the SABC will have access to the farm for the funeral on Sunday,” she said.

Eastern Cape police spokesman Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said police and military personnel would hold a dry run on the route the procession bearing the coffin would take.

The procession would make a 15 minute stop-over, but the destination was not yet clear.

Fatyela said people would be allowed along the route on the R61

and N2.

“The human chain will be allowed, but we are closing the road to traffic,” he said.

“From 9pm on Friday night, the N2 (between Qunu and Mthatha) will be closed to traffic and only those accredited will have access to the road.”

GCIS would make maps available for the public and media on their website later on Friday afternoon.

Police helicopters and military jets circled the museum and Qunu all morning.

A more detailed briefing was expected later on Friday.


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