S. Africa in full gear for Mandela's funeral   2013-12-13 19:12:51            

CAPE TOWN, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- South Africa is fully prepared for former President Nelson Mandela's funeral, authorities said on Friday.

"Everything is on track in terms of arrangements for the funeral," said Lt-Gen Xolani Mabangu, spokesman of the SA National Defense Force (SANDF).

President Jacob Zuma has ordered the deployment of the SANDF at Qunu, Eastern Cape, where Mandela will be buried on Sunday.

A number of 11, 894 SANDF members will cooperate with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to maintain law and order during the funeral, scheduled for Sunday at Qunu, Mandela's native village. The employment is for a period of 15 days commencing on Dec. 6 to Dec. 20.

About 5,000 people will attend the funeral, including Mandela's family and abaThembu clan members, government officials and international dignitaries, according to Mabangu.

Mandela died of illness at his Johannesburg home on Dec. 5 at the age of 95. Friday is the third and final day of his body lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Mandela's body will be flown to the Eastern Cape on Saturday.

The body will be formally handed over to the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Waterkloof Military Airbase in Pretoria on Saturday, according to a government plan.

ANC leaders will conduct their ceremony in honor of Mandela before his body is flown to the Eastern Cape.

A large contingent of local and international journalists have arrived at Qunu, testing the logistics at the remote village.

There have been complaints that some members of the media have violated the protocols and arrangements that are in place in Qunu.

"This is causing frustration for the authorities and the Mandela family and community of Qunu," Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said. He appealed to members of the media to respect Mandela's final resting place.

Chabane assured the media that throughout the process, the media would have the necessary access and facilities to cover this global event.


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