Members of the public sign a book of condolences for former president Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings, Pretoria, South Africa, 06 December 2013. Mandela died aged 95 at his Johannesburg home on Thursday 5 December 2013 after a prolonged lung infection. Picture: Phill Magakoe
Members of the public sign a book of condolences for former president Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings, Pretoria, South Africa, 06 December 2013. Mandela died aged 95 at his Johannesburg home on Thursday 5 December 2013 after a prolonged lung infection. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Tight security at Union Buildings

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Dec 7, 2013

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Pretoria - Security at the Union Buildings in Pretoria was tightened on Saturday morning after hundreds of people streamed there to pay their last respects to former president Nelson Mandela.

Several Tshwane metro police officers blocked the two main entrances along Government Avenue, and were screening vehicles.

Members of the public were not allowed to drive up to the Union Buildings, where people had left a monument of messages on cards, and bouquets of flowers.

One card read: “A man everybody looked upon, a person free-spirited and always calm. He set us free from everything. From Reitumetse Poo.”

Another read: “Thank you for teaching me about forgiveness and love for one's enemies. I pray the world will tread in your footsteps. From Thino.”

A few visitors braved the nippy morning weather to bring their tributes on Saturday morning.

Belinda Mathenjwa said her flowers were a thanksgiving to Mandela.

“He made many sacrifices for our country and this is my way of giving back to him. I feel indebted forever,” she said.

There were numerous news crews at the Union Buildings and some had outside broadcast vehicles.

On Friday night, a group of young people sang and danced as people queued to sign books of condolence.

Unemployed father of four, Trevor Bika, said he had walked more than 20 kilometres from Mamelodi East to convey his condolences.

“I felt a strong desire to come here, where Madiba used to have an office while he was president, to pay my homage to a great man,” he said.

“The old man has left us a huge responsibility, which is to inculcate in our children the values of ubuntu. Africa and the world have lost a great son.”

A row of candles was lit near the Union Buildings' entrance. Several buses brought tourists.

Numerous children were also there, and some pasted pictures on the vast walls. - Sapa

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