The viewing of the late former Nelson Mandela’s mortal remains at the amphitheatre at the Union Buildings has been opened to the public.
The viewing of the struggle icon was opened a few minutes after midday.
Members of the public, who are not allowed to take photos of the casket, are now able to file past the body which is under constant vigil by the military’s national ceremonial guard.
The public will be able to view the body until 5.30 this afternoon after which it will then be taken back to 1 Military Hospital in a cortege.
The first group of members of the public to come in had been waiting patiently outside the pedestrian entrance of the Union Buildings in the scorching sun for several hours, most of them bringing their children along. A large number of them were dressed in their Nelson Mandela memorabilia.
The visibly excited crowd put their cellphones and cameras away and began queuing up to be scanned by security before they could proceed to the ampitheatre, which has been renamed the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.
Other members of the public are expected to be bussed in throughout the afternoon from various pick up points around Tshwane. The City of Tshwane has implemented a park and ride system.
Most members of the public will make use of the opportunity to view the body of their fallen hero for the last time on Thursday and Friday between 7am and 5pm.
The body will be flown to Madiba’s hometown Qunu in the Eastern Cape at the weekend. The State Funeral will take place on Sunday. – SAnews.gov.za
The Mandela family, Government ministers and several Heads of State and Government from different countries across the world have been filing past the body of late former President Nelson Mandela, who is lying in state at Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre, at the Union Buildings.
The Mandela family, including the elders, and several dignitaries, who were shuttled to the Union Buildings, arrived at the Union Buildings just before 10 am. They then lined up to pay homage to Madiba. The body is under constant vigil by the military’s national ceremonial guard.
The proceedings included a parade with a gun carriage drawn by soldiers and moment of silence.
As most of the dignitaries will not attend the Official State Funeral in Qunu on Sunday, the occasion is seen as the world leaders’ last final respects to the man who has been hailed as a giant of history and someone who moved a nation towards justice and liberation.
The first batch of mourners to pay homage to Madiba included the Mandela family. They were led by President Jacob Zuma. The group included an emotional Graca Machel, Madiba’s wife, as well as former wife Winnie Madikezela Mandela, the elder stateman’s children and grandchildren as well as several government ministers and former President Thabo Mbeki.
The second batch to file past the body and pay their last respects were leaders from continents all across the world. Each took their turn in an orderly and dignified manner to either say a prayer at the body or pass by after viewing it.
The leaders included Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Malawian President Joyce Banda, a delegation for the United Arab Emirates, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Mandela’s trusted aide for many years Zelda la Grange cut an emotional picture as she walked hand in hand with Irish singer Bono, who is known for his activism against apartheid. Anant Singh, who produced the film: Long Walk to Freedom was also in the groups that paid their final respects.
Madiba’s body arrived at the Union Buildings just before 8am this morning in a somewhat sombre mood. Mandla Mandela has been sitting with the coffin since it arrived. Ndaba Mandela and some of elders together with Mandla had received his body earlier.
The convoy carrying his remains had travelled from 1 Military Hospital in Thaba Tshwane, through the streets where ordinary South Africans made a public guard of honour.
His coffin is standing in the same spot where he was sworn in as the country’s first democratically elected president.
His remains will lie in state at the Union Buildings’ amphitheatre every day until Friday.
President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday renamed the amphitheatre the Nelson Mandela amphitheatre.
“This is a fitting tribute to a man who transformed the Union Buildings from a symbol of racism and repression to one of peace, unity, democracy and progress,” President Zuma announced during his tribute at the memorial service on Tuesday.
The dignitaries will view Mandela’s body until noon, while the public will be able to file past the body from noon until 5.30pm.
On Thursday and Friday, the public will have access to the amphitheatre to view the coffin from 8am until 5.30pm.
Mourners are advised that cameras, including cell phones, will not be allowed at the Union Buildings. – SAnews.gov.za
Presidents – past and present – global leaders, royals and A-list celebrities have started to arrive at FNB Stadium to pay their last respects at an unprecedented gathering that will hail one of humanity’s great peacemakers.
At least 91 Heads of State and Government will put aside world politics for four hours and unite as they recall, reflect, honour and bid farewell to the icon that is Nelson Mandela — a clear sign of the kind of impact that the former South African President left on the world.
President Jacob Zuma has arrived with his wife Thobeka Zuma. Nobel Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu arrived moments before.
US President Barack Obama, who will address mourners, has also arrived at the stadium with his wife Michelle Obama.
They are accompanied by three former Presidents of the US, including George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton with his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and their daughter Chelsea, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder.
Cuban leader Raul Castro – the erstwhile President Fidel Castro’s brother, a long-time friend of Mandela’s – is already present. He will deliver a speech later.
Prince Charles, Sir John Major, former UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are accompanying UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, French President Francois Hollande, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are also present.
From the continent, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Namibian President Hifkepunye Pohamba, who is also scheduled to speak at the service, have arrived.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and former UN chief Kofi Annan are also present.
Mandela’s long-time friends George Bizos and Andrew Mlangeni have arrived. Mlangeni will speak at the ceremony.
Among the celebrity mourners are talk show queen Oprah Winfrey and model Naomi Campbell, singer/activist Bono, British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, musician Peter Gabriel and the pop music group Spice Girls.
Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his family, including his grandchildren – who will pay tribute to Mandela at the ceremony – have also arrived.
The 95 000-seat stadium in Soweto, the township that was at the heart of the anti-apartheid struggle, is the site of Mandela’s last public appearance, when he waved to fans from the back of a golf cart at the final of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The service is seen as the final chance for grieving South Africans to unite in mass celebration of Mandela’s life before the exclusive State Funeral.
From tomorrow, Mandela’s body will lie in state at the Union Buildings until Friday. He will be buried on Sunday in Qunu, his rural hometown in the Eastern Cape. – SAnews.gov.za
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has awarded the South African arm of German engineering company Siemens a €180-million (R2.7-billion) contract to implement world-class signalling systems and track upgrades on the Johannesburg and Pretoria rail networks.
Announcing the award of the contract on Wednesday, Prasa CEO Lucky Montana said the signalling systems project would increase capacity and ensure more flexibility, greater safety and fewer train delays in Gauteng province.
“The need for more effective train control is important as the number, speed, mass and length of the trains in Gauteng increase,” Montana said in a statement issued by Siemens.
The agency is preparing to replace South Africa’s ageing passenger fleet with modern commuter trains, which are expected to hit the tracks in 2015. Montana said Prasa would be spending almost R7-billion over the next three years on signalling system upgrades countrywide.
Siemens said the signalling overhaul was “first of its kind for South Africa”, involving the replacement of outdated technology – some of it dating back to the 1930s – with modern electronic systems.
“Key features of the upgrade include the introduction of electronic interlocking systems, the upgrade and/or building of new relay rooms, a brand new train detection system, overhead and track changes, and implementation of a custom-designed train control operating system across the entire Gauteng network,” the company said in a statement.
Siemens was first commissioned in 2011 to upgrade a quarter of the province’s signalling system and to build a state-of-the-art central operations centre. The new contract will involve the modernisation of the remaining three-quarters of Gauteng’s signalling network.
“Completion of the rail signalling project will see the Gauteng railway network aligned with modern urban rail networks across the world,” said Lucio Lefebvre, senior project manager at Siemens South Africa.
According to Lefebvre, a main feature of the central operations centre is a command room housing a 52-metre wide video wall that shows the movement of trains and all activity across the entire Gauteng rail network. A fully integrated monitoring system will pick up faults and any tampering with the network.
“The new system is vandal-resistant, and rigorous measures against theft and sabotage have been incorporated into the full network design,” Lefebvre said, adding: “The whole project is underpinned by stringent testing and safety processes.”
Siemens said local production would account for 60% of the project, with much of the engineering, manufacturing and testing due to take place at its factory in Northriding, Johannesburg.
With around 25 000 kilometres of track, South Africa’s railway network is the largest in Africa and the tenth largest in the world. Gauteng, the country’s smallest but most densely populated province, is South Africa’s economic hub as well as a financial and logistical gateway to the southern African region.
Nelson Mandela passed away at his home in Johannesburg in the late hours of December 5th 2013. The 95 year old will leave us as the most respected political leader the world has ever known, one of the most universally popular human beings in modern history and an inspiration to the entire world.
His attitude and determination has made the country what it is today and without Mandela, South Africa would undoubtedly be a very different place.
Tributes from world leaders have been coming in from various nations. British Prime Minister, David Cameron said: “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.”
Us President Barack Obama said: “He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages.”
Jacob Zuma announced the news, saying: “This is the moment of our deepest sorrow, our nation has lost its greatest son.”
It is unlikely that we will ever witness a human being with such powers of reconciliation and influence.
One thing that is for sure is that we can all be inspired by the life and times of Madiba.
The third Orange African Nations Champions (CHAN), to be played early next year, will allow South Africa to build on the positive legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Briefing the media following the national executive’s last meeting for the year on Thursday, Acting Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Angie Motshekga said Cabinet welcomes the 16 African nations and their supporters, who will be participating in the third CHAN tournament in January next year.
The tournament for home-based footballers will be staged between January 11 and February 1 in South Africa.
“The tournament also presents an opportunity for South Africans to showcase our country as a vibrant tourism, trade and investment destination and it will further help to entrench social cohesion and national pride,” she said.
South Africa, who has been drawn alongside Nigeria, Mali and Mozambique, will be competing at the CHAN for the second time with a makeshift team losing to Algeria in the 2011 quarter-finals in Sudan. – SAnews.gov.za
Eskom has announced the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Brian Dames, who will depart in March next year.
Dames has been at the helm since 1 July 2010.
He has substantially turned around the organisation, said Eskom in a statement on Thursday.
Under his leadership Eskom kept the lights on in spite of a tight system, sustained the new build programme, invested in renewable energy on a large scale and secured the funding required for its future, while also making a significant contribution to development, training and empowerment.
Among his other achievements, he also managed to keep the lights on during a successful 2010 World Cup.
Chairman of the Eskom Board Zola Tsotsi has thanked Dames for his dedication and commitment to Eskom over the years.
“I want to personally thank Brian for his hard work, for taking the helm of Eskom during arduous times and successfully steering the company through many rough seas.”
Tsotsi said that up until March, the Eskom Board and Dames would work together to ensure a smooth transition to a new Chief Executive.
“The process to find a successor is well underway and we expect it to be concluded timeously.” – SAnews.gov.za
Acting Minister of Performance Monitoring, Evaluation, and Administration Angie Motshekga announced on Thursday that Cabinet has approved the National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan.
The National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan, which is referred to as South Africa Connect, is expected to contribute significantly to economic growth, development and job-creation.
Addressing reporters in Pretoria following the last Cabinet meeting for the year, Motshekga said the overall goal of the strategy was to achieve a universal average download speed of 100 mbps by 2030.
“To reach this target in a progressive manner, there are reviewable targets starting with an average user experience speed of 5 mbps to be reached by 2016 and available to 50% of the population and to 90% by 2020,” she said.
The minister said targets had also been set for schools and clinics and general public sector connectivity. The rapid evolution of broadband technology means that these targets will be reviewed annually.
(ICT) Policy Green Paper
Cabinet has also approved the gazetting of the National Integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy Green Paper for public consultation.
The Green Paper deals with the need to amend policies and regulations to take account of the rapid changes in ICT in recent years.
Among the issues it focuses on are telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services.
Motshekga said public hearings would be held in all the provinces early next year.
Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy
The amendments of the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy, relating mainly to whether the Set Top Box or decoders should have a control system or not, was also approved by Cabinet at its meeting this week.
The minister said Cabinet decided that the use of a control system should not be mandatory, using various criteria including the need for speed on digital migration, especially to release radio frequency spectrum; ensure that the government subsidy is used productively; stimulating the local electronics industry and create jobs and reducing the prospects of the South African market being flooded by cheap STBs that are not fully functional.
The STBs will, however, have a control system to protect government’s investment in the subsidised STB market and the local electronics industry and, with rapid technological changes, for future use by broadcasters who might not want to use it now.
“To avoid subscription broadcasters unfairly benefiting from the STB control system, government’s investment in the STB Control System will be recovered from those subscription broadcasters that choose to make use of the STB Control system.
“Cabinet urges all parties to move on from their previous differences and work together with the government in rolling out digital migration as soon as possible in the country’s interests,” Motshekga said. – SAnews.gov.za
A total of 368 small medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) continue to benefit from the construction of the Kusile power station in Emalahleni.
The companies were linked to business opportunities at the coal-fired power station through the Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism.
“In the 2011/12 financial year, about 232 SMMEs were awarded contracts at Kusile, and an additional 136 SMMEs were also guided to obtain contracts at Kusile in the 2012/13 financial year,” said Economic Development, Environment and Tourism MEC Pinky Phosa in a statement.
Phosa said the department was happy with the contribution that the Kusile project was making in terms of assisting emerging entrepreneurs and cooperatives.
“The project has enabled many residents from neighbouring towns in the Emalahleni Local Municipality such as Delmas, Ogies and Phola to obtain jobs and that enable them to take care of their families, and over and above these, the province has benefited economically,” said Phosa.
She said the business opportunities are in construction, catering and material supply to the project.
The Kusile Power Station project has seen a boom in the local economy of the Nkangala region and subsequently the province, with Eskom and its contractors injecting about R238 billion into the local economy.
The money has translated into about 8 000 permanent jobs, with locals being the beneficiaries of more than 4 000 jobs.
“Our intervention in the economy is crucial. We want to make sure that our people also become empowered and access business opportunities in projects such as the Kusile project.
“I will continue to push for more and greater participation of the historically disadvantaged people in the provincial economic system through engagements with big business,” said Phosa.
In an effort to make sure that people of the province are able to tap into business opportunities in the province, Phosa said the department would develop a Provincial Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment database.
“We will develop the provincial BBBEE database and maintain it to ensure that Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment bears fruits for the people of Mpumalanga. The database will then be linked to the National BBBEE IT portal. This will then expose those complaint companies to other business opportunities in the economy,” said Phosa.
One of the beneficiaries of the Kusile project, Millicent Matlala, Managing Director at Tecco High End, said since working with the station, her steel-manufacturing company, which is based in Middelburg, has grown in leaps and bounds.
“I am very happy about the opportunity of working with such a giant power station. We are supplying the power station with the steel water treatment tanks. It is an amazing experience for us as emerging business people,” said Matlala. – SAnews.gov.za
The Pietermaritzburg Airport has been given an R18 million upgrade at its terminal building and apron.
Unveiling the upgrades on Tuesday, KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Ina Cronjé said they had to give KwaZulu-Natal’s capital city new wings.
She said she was one of the people who had given up on using the Pietermaritzburg Airport.
“I could no longer risk missing important meetings because the aeroplane could not land in or take off from Pietermaritzburg due to bad weather.”
The MEC said a lot of hard work and sweat from very dedicated people had made Pietermaritzburg Airport an airport to be proud of today.
Together with the investments by the Msunduzi Municipality to upgrade the navigation lighting systems, a 46% improvement in functionality has been experienced.
As a result, Airlink restarted its Quad Jet services into Pietermaritzburg from July.
Cronjé said passenger numbers have since increased from 273 seats per day to 401 seats, while the number of daily return flights also increased from four to five.
As a general aviation airport, the Pietermaritzburg Airport also caters for private aircraft landings and departures.
In addition, it provides hanger space, refuelling facilities, a car hire area, office accommodation and parking, while the land adjacent to the airport is available for industrial and commercial development.
“These factors were all considered by the provincial government before a decision was taken to invest R40 million for essential upgrades at the airport,” the MEC said.
She said the money will stay in the provincial fiscus and will only be disbursed on satisfactory proof of progress.
The most compelling upgrade which needed to be made, Cronjé said, was the resurfacing of the runway and taxiway.
The upgrading of the airport, coupled with the restoration of confidence of previous customers, will add to the economic development and growth of Pietermaritzburg. – SAnews.gov.za