President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a Special Category 1 funeral for Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Tuesday.
Buthelezi died on Saturday morning at the age of 95. His funeral is expected to take place in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday.
The funeral was initially planned to take place on Friday, however, according to the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, the family considered several factors that would have made the initial date impractical.
“The family has expressed gratitude to the President for categorizing the funeral as a Special Official Funeral Category One, saying this was a befitting recognition for the contribution and dedication the Prince of KwaPhindangene has made to South Africa,” said the provincial government.
The funeral service of the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP, the Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu Monarch and Nation and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party will be held on Saturday, 16 September 2023. #MangosuthuButhelezi pic.twitter.com/BjE0GNsFgp— KZN Provincial Gov (@kzngov) September 12, 2023
Special official funerals are declared by the president for “persons of extraordinary credentials” and “distinguished persons”.
In December 2021, Ramaphosa also announced a Special Official Funeral Category 1 for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
For a Special Official Funeral, the National Flag will fly at half-mast at every flag station in the country from the morning after the date of the announcement by The Presidency until the evening of the burial or cremation.
This shall also apply to the burial site or cremation facility.
Special Official Funeral Category 1 also contains elements of military ceremonial honours.
For Special Official Funeral Category 1, the National Days of Mourning will commence on the day of the announcement by The Presidency until the evening of the burial or cremation.
The remains will not lie-in-state.
Special liaising aides are appointed to engage with the family. They will be appointed to the next-of-kin and will be stationed at the family residence from the day of their appointment to the day of the burial or cremation.
Who bears the cost of the funeral?
In a Special Official Funeral Category 1 and any other State funeral, the departments involved will be responsible for costs related to the services they are expected to offer, including the funeral undertaker costs, including the coffin and limited catering for the family and State or official guests.
In the event of the cost of a funeral exceeding the budget of the said department, this expenditure “must be provided for during the Adjustment Appropriation”.
The Office of the Director-General in The Presidency will be responsible for organising, planning and executing all funeral arrangements involving the State, including activating the Funeral Planning Committee, comprising other senior staff members in The Presidency.
Liaison officers from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF); Department of International Relations (Dirco); Department of Public Works; Government Communication (GCIS); Department of Transport; State Security Agency; Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta); Department of Home Affairs; South African Police Service (SAPS), will also be roped in.
The Presidency, together with the Dirco, will coordinate the receiving of mourners and honoured guests at international airports and other arrival points of South Africa.
Dirco and the South African Secret Service will collaborate in coordinating the inflow of foreign guests attending any funeral.
Chief of the SANDF will compile and send a checklist or formal sequence of events to the DG in The Presidency to be part of the funeral arrangements.
The Department of Public Works will ensure that all the infrastructural needs of all the points identified by the Funeral Planning Committee are provided for, including related facilities for the family and mourners at the funeral service, cemetery and family home. The department will also organise, among other things, the preparation of the grave site.
The SAPS will provide security services, and where needed, a mounted escort.
An official memorial service can be held for all categories. Night vigils are at the prerogative of the family and the State can assist.