Police visibility has been heightened in preparation for the 20,000 mourners that are expected to gather in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal to pay their last respects to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
The longest-serving traditional prime minister of the Zulu monarchy died last Saturday, September 9 at the age of 95.
By Friday morning, Buthelezi’s home was already a hive of activity with a large group of regiments gathering to begin their traditional trek to the mortuary to bring his body home.
His Special Official Category 1 funeral, where President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the eulogy, is set to take place this Saturday, September 16 at the Prince Mangosuthu Regional Stadium.
Under the guidance of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS), the SAPS have mobilised its resources to ensure the safety and security of all those attending the funeral.
According to police spokesperson, Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, NatJOINTS has thus far assessed the state of readiness and preparedness of all law enforcement agencies and was satisfied with its security plan which includes, route, venue and other elements.
Mourners who will be attending the funeral service have been urged to conduct themselves in an orderly and responsible manner. Attendees have also been encouraged to cooperate with law enforcement officers and exercise patience.
Parents and guardians are advised to give careful consideration when deciding to bring along young children.
The amabutho and those who will be dressed in traditional regalia are advised that traditional spears and shields will be allowed at the venue in line with the Zulu tradition and culture and for the sole purpose of honouring the late IFP founder.
However, members of the public have been warned that no firearms will be permitted at the stadium and no illegal discharge of firearms will be tolerated.
“Members of the public and attendees are therefore cautioned against committing illegal acts. Law enforcement agencies will thus not hesitate to act against anyone who is found on the wrong side of the law,” Mathe said.
The community of Ulundi have also been reminded that during the Special Official Category 1 Funeral, there will be a 21 gun salute.
“This means that extremely loud bangs will be heard in the vicinity that may have an effect on some people. Special care should be given to people suffering ill-health, the elderly and children. Owners of pets or domestic animals are also advised that these loud bangs are likely to severely agitate animals and therefore special provision should be made for them for the duration of the funeral ceremony,” Mathe said.
She also reminded the public that the Prince Mangosuthu Regional Stadium was a strictly no drone zone area.
“The NatJOINTS is therefore confident that all attendees irrespective of race, colour, creed and/or political affiliation will come together harmoniously to honour the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi,” Mathe said.