Preparations are in full force for the late IFP founder Prince Mangisuthu Buthelezi’s funeral, set to take place in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, tomorrow.
The son of the late leader, Zuzifa Buthelezi, expressed gratitude to people from all walks of life and abroad who have been paying tribute to Buthelezi, who has been described as a peaceful man by those who loved him.
He said it was all systems go for a dignified burial, and the body of his father would be brought home later today to rest overnight.
Zuzifa said there will be a church service, as his father was a Christian as well as royalty, and later, people will disperse as his father was not a fan of night vigils.
“Amabutho from the family, as well as others, will do traditional work, and the family will undertake family rituals.”
And as much as they appreciate the outpouring of love and admiration, the family said at the end of the day, they want to give their father an appropriate send-off.
“He was a man of order. We don’t want any chaos. We want to do exactly as the way he would have wanted this funeral to be conducted,” Zuzifa said.
They have had meetings with the Ministers of Police and Military for arrangements.
President Cyril Ramaphosa granted Buthelezi a category 1 state funeral, one reserved for “persons of extraordinary credentials”, and only the president can grant them.
The category of the funeral was announced by the Presidency on Tuesday as mourners continued to flock to KwaPhindangene, outside Ulundi in northern KwaZulu-Natal, to mourn the death of the Zulu Prince.
“The State, Official and Provincial Official Funeral Policy of government accords Special Official Funerals, Category 1, to persons of extraordinary credentials specifically designated by the President of the Republic of South Africa,” the Presidency said.
Meanwhile, police visibility has been heightened in preparation for the 20 000 mourners expected to pay their last respects.
The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure and the SAPS have mobilised resources to ensure the safety and security of all attendees.
SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said the NATJOINTS, the PROVJOINTS and all law enforcement agencies, as well as various other government departments are working together to guarantee that the funeral takes place in a safe and secure environment.
Mathe said NatJOINTS has thus far assessed the state of readiness and preparedness of all law enforcement agencies and is satisfied with its security plan, which includes route, venue and other elements.
“Mourners who will be attending the funeral service are urged to conduct themselves in an orderly and responsible manner. Attendees are also 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,” said Mathe.
She said 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 Prince. However, members of the public are 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 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,” said Mathe.
She said the community of Ulundi is 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 added that the Prince Mangosuthu Regional Stadium is a strictly no drone zone area.
“The NATjoints is confident that all attendees, irrespective of race, colour, creed and/or political affiliation, will come together harmoniously to honour Buthelezi.”