Stage built at Mandela homestead

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iol news pic Qunu South Africa Mandela Mourning


A dome, being constructed near the house, left rear, of former South African president Nelson Mandela, in Qunu. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

Qunu - The construction of a large stage at former president Nelson Mandela's homestead at Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, was nearing completion on Wednesday.

The stage will be used during Mandela's funeral on Sunday.

On Wednesday afternoon, workers were using a yellow crane to position panels on the structure's domed roof.

Nearby, a red and white tent had been erected.

Several goods trucks were parked on the gravel road leading to the house.

There were fewer police officers and soldiers compared to previous days.

Access to the Mandela homestead was tightly controlled, and police had blocked off all roads leading to the main gate.

Police had also closed the N2, which is the main road to and from Qunu and which runs past the homestead, for a few kilometres on both sides of Mandela's house.

The side road through Qunu, which the media and other people have used to get to the house, was closed late on Tuesday afternoon.

“Go away. You are not allowed here or anywhere close to the house,” said a policeman.

He would not answer questions about how locals would get to their homes or the community centre.

OR Tambo district mayor Nomakhosazana Meth said the municipality was ready for the influx of people expected at Mandela's funeral.

She said alternative routes would be available to avoid congestion in Qunu and Mthatha.


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