Qunu residents expressed sadness on Thursday at the prospect of not attending the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela.
“It is very painful not to be able to attend the funeral,” said Simesihle Soyaye.
“We are the people of this area, the place where he grew up, we were staying with him.”
She said having to watch proceedings on television would be painful for the locals.
Her grandmother Nomvula said the public viewing areas that had been arranged were too far for the old people to reach .
Speaking about Mandela, she said he would be disappointed to know residents were not allowed to attend the funeral.
“It was his wish for us to be there. When he moved to Johannesburg, he told us that although he might be gone, we would get to see him even if he was dead,” she said.
The woman, who stays near the Mandela's house, said that if no transport was arranged for people to go to the public viewing areas, she would rather watch it at her house.
“We would be watching it on TV at the place anyway.”
Sinazo Mfanase, who lives in the village, said she was disappointed and hurt that she would not be able to bury Mandela.
She said she would have loved to assist in any way possible.
“I would have even volunteered to pick up litter in the community, but we were not given that opportunity. It really hurts for us locals,” she said.
There were two military helicopters hovering over the house. There were also police on horseback in the village.
A blue light convoy with sirens blaring was seen heading in the direction of the house.
It was not known who was in the car as the media cannot get close to the house.
Earlier in the day, more than 20 buses and trucks lined up outside Mandela's house in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.
Soldiers were seen walking in the yard.
Media were not allowed to take pictures in the village.
A police officer said: “We were briefed not to allow you access or to let you take pictures. You can go to the white tent (referring to a media centre up the hill).”
On Wednesday, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said the media had violated protocols.
“It has... come to our attention that some members of the media have violated the protocols and arrangements that are in place in Qunu, and that this is causing frustration for the authorities and the Mandela family and community of Qunu.”
He appealed to the media to respect Mandela's final resting place.
“The final resting place of the former president is culturally significant to the amaThembu clan.”
Roadworks were continuing and the N2 route was being cleared of litter.
At the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, children were being given sweets, fruits and toys. - Sapa