Cape Town - A huge R72 million has been allocated by the City of Cape Town for its week-long programme of events honouring Nelson Mandela.
The city will also spend almost R1m providing free public transport to the thousands of mourners wanting to gather at the city hall, central business district and other places of tribute.
At a special council meeting on Sunday to honour the former statesman, and the first to be held on a Sunday, the city’s directorate of compliance and auxiliary services said that, while the national government would take the lead with its memorial programme, “significant” attention would be given to Cape Town, given its historical links with Madiba.
In her tribute, mayor Patricia de Lille recalled what Mandela had said in 1997 when he was given the Freedom of the City: “In Cape Town resides part of the souls of many nations and cultures, priceless threads in the rich diversity of our African nation… it was the people of Cape Town who welcomed me on my first day of freedom.”
Robben Island, the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, Pollsmoor, Cape Town City Hall and the Grand Parade have been identified as key areas where people are likely to congregate to pay their respects. But the city has assured Capetonians that there will also be “free and convenient” access to venues and related events close to their homes.
Transport and safety plans, used during the 2010 World Cup, would get into gear.
Free public transport - on rail, buses, the MyCiti service and minibus taxis - will be available for designated periods for the memorial and funeral services on Wednesday and Sunday.
Agreements with transport operators had been reached “verbally at short notice”, the city said. It was also possible that estimated costs could change and would be reported to council after the event.
The R72m is to come from departments required to contribute to these events, such as tourism and marketing. The actual costs will appropriated in the January adjustments budget.
Shared her memories of Mandela, from her time as an MP, De Lille said he would call her on her birthday and referred to her as his favourite opposition politician, she said.
“I was privileged to have had a personal relationship with Madiba.”
Councillors from each of the political parties in council were given an opportunity to pay their respects to Mandela.
ANC chief whip Xolani Sotashe said Madiba’s death had “left a void in our hearts that can never be filled”.
Clive Justus, who spoke for the DA, said: “The Rainbow Nation has lost its father. We are a united nation in grief. Let us remember his unity.
“Though there is a great deal that divides us, there is much that binds us.”
* Public viewing areas where communities may view the remembrance and funeral services are: the Grand Parade, Atlantis, Durbanville, Khayelitsha, Swartklip, Vygieskraal, Muizenberg.
Monday: Evening of remembrance at the OR Tambo Hall, Khayelitsha, at 7pm.
Wednesday: Memorial service at Cape Town Stadium at 4pm. Those wanting to attend may collect free coupons, on presentation of a valid driving licence or identity document, from Computicket stands, Shoprite, and Shoprite/Checkers outlets across Cape Town on a first come, first served basis. A maximum of five coupons will be given to each person. Access to the stadium will be allowed only on presentation of a coupon. The gates will open at 2pm, and the service should be finished by 11pm. There will be public transport to and from the event.