ICON: Nelson Mandela. Picture: SOWETAN
ICON: Nelson Mandela. Picture: SOWETAN

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has announced that former president Nelson Mandela’s funeral will be held on Sunday, December 15, in Qunu in the Eastern Cape, Mandela’s ancestral home.

Speaking at a media briefing in his second public address since Mandela died on Thursday night, Mr Zuma said in a brief speech that the government was grateful for the dignified manner in which the local and international community had responded to the news of Mandela’s death.

He said that this Sunday, December 8, had been declared a day of prayer and reflection, and he called for all people to gather in churches, mosques, synagogues and in their homes to pray and to reflect on Mandela’s life.

Mr Zuma said the main event of the 10 days of national mourning would be an official memorial service held at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Nasrec, near Soweto, on Tuesday, December 10.

From December 11 to 13, Mandela’s remains will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where he was inaugurated as the first president of a democratic South Africa in 1994.

Mr Zuma said several memorial services would be held in all provinces and regions in the coming week.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said the funeral arrangements were being handled by the Mandela family, the African National Congress (ANC) and the government.

Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesman Sello Hatang said earlier on Friday that the organisation was not planning any activities and its role would be limited to providing support to the family and the government.

The African Union Commission plans to hold a memorial service for Mandela this Sunday. The service will take place at its headquarters, a book of condolences will be opened and the AU’s flags will be flown at half-mast out of respect, the secretariat said on Friday.