About 70 Heads of State to attend Mandela Memorial Service

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Some 70 Heads of State and Government have confirmed that they will take part in the memorial service or State Funeral of the late former President Nelson Mandela, says the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

The memorial, to be held at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday, will be among the biggest gatherings of world leaders in history.

US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and UK PM David Cameron will be among those attending Tuesday’s memorial. Former Presidents include US Presidents George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

DIRCO is busy with preparations, as most of the world leaders will arrive in the country today.

“The world literally is coming to South Africa. On the numbers for the memorial service, we are sitting at over 70 Heads of State and Government in office and we are looking at 10 for former Heads of State and Government,” Head of Public Diplomacy, Clayson Monyela, said on Monday.

Monyela said the large number of high profile guests arriving was unprecedented.

“I don’t think it has ever happened before … All organisations of the world, for example, the United Nations will be represented by the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the African Union by Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and we have princes and princesses, kings and queens coming.”

Logistically, Monyela said it was a tough task but government was up to the challenge in ensuring that everything goes according to plan.

The majority of international guests will not travel to Qunu in the Eastern Cape for the funeral, which is taking place on December 15.

For the memorial service, once the venue is full, people will be redirected to three other stadiums that will be broadcasting the event — including Ellis Park, Orlando Stadium and Dobsonville Stadium.

Cars will not be allowed near the stadiums, but special bus and train services will be offered. The event is scheduled to start at 11am, with doors scheduled to open at 6am. – SAnews.gov.za

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