One behalf of the Executive council (EXCO) and the people of the Eastern Cape I would like once more to join all the people of the world in mourning the loss of a true hero of our nation – the son of the Eastern Cape - who dedicated his life to the struggle for all our people.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs Graca Machel and the entire Mandela family as they mourn the loss of a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather who meant a great deal to his family, his nation and the world.
Although we were aware that Tata’s state of health was not good but indeed we kept hoping that even this time around he was going to pull through as he always did. Indeed his departure has come as a shock and a heavy blow to all of us.
Tatu Mandela’s lifetime was dedicated to the achievement of South Africa`s liberation. Throughout, Madiba demonstrated fortitude in the face of adversity and responded selflessly to the sacrifices demanded of his family.
As people of the Eastern Cape, we loved him so much - we would have been easily tempted to have jealously claimed him as our own, but we recognised that his towering stature as a symbol of freedom and peace transcended the rural boundaries of Qunu, his birth place, into the world for the benefit of all human kind.
Madiba had a steely sense of service to his people. We will always remember his love for the downtrodden in our country and the world over. His faith in humanity and its potential; and hope for a better world was unparralled.
One of his outstanding achievements during his Presidency was his commitment to nation building and reconciliation. Our generation stands proud as direct beneficiaries of his vision and leadership.
Tatu Madiba was well loved all over the world by both the poor and the rich, by the young and old, by blacks or whites, by Africans or Europeans, by Asians or Latin American. He was everything to all people. Indeed he deserved to get recognition of an international icon.
We the people of the Eastern Cape salute the sacrifices made by Madiba, his family and his generation for what they endured for us to enjoy democracy and freedom. Without their sacrifices our country would not have achieved the strides it has made in the two decades of freedom.
I would like to appeal to all South African in particular people of the Eastern Cape that the ultimate debt we owe Madiba in exchange of his life is selfless service to public life. We must commit to uphold his legacy and the ideals he cherished.
We are also grateful to the ANC for nurturing him and affording the nation and the world to tap on the leadership qualities he possessed.
State of readiness of the province
The passing away of the Founding President of our democracy is a critical national and international event that induces large-scale mourning and celebration of the life of an extraordinary national leader and global icon.
The event focuses unprecedented international interest not only to our country but to our province as well. This is due to the international appeal and profile of President Mandela, whose prominence and popularity cut across all sectors of society in South Africa and the world.
Eastern Cape Government working together with national government is tasked with role of facilitating participation by all South Africans and the international community in memorial events, at a time of collective grief at President Mandela’s passing, and collective celebration of his life and contribution.
The performance and conduct of government as well as the conduct of people of the Eastern Cape during this period will have a significant bearing on public opinion in the country and beyond, and all activities are therefore material to our province reputation.
We must honour Madiba with dignity and pride.
The official mourning period and the State Funeral is an opportunity for all South Africans and the international community to mourn the loss we all feel – and to celebrate Madiba’s extraordinary life and contribution to all of humanity.
Let’s Work Together to make this period one in which we maintain the dignity and proud reputation of our country.
A great number of international visitors will make their way to our province to be part of memorial events and the State Funeral.
We call on all people of the Eastern Cape to work with authorities to ensure that the dignity and security of key public events is maintained throughout this period.
At this moment it is proper for me to share with you the details of preparations for the State Funeral as they relate with the Eastern Cape:
As you are aware that the President has announced from a national point of view that the father of the nation will be afforded a State Funeral in his rural birth town Qunu, in our province on the 15 of December, on the 08th of December a “national day of prayer and reflection”, as well as the 10thDec a national memorial service.
As the province we have aligned our memorial events along the national programme and indeed as the Eastern Cape we are ready:
• Eastern Cape people are known to be humble, warm and welcoming people and I am convinced that we are ready to welcome the world to a province called the “Home of Legends”.
• Our infrastructure is ready namely the roads, airports, public transport, stadia, electricity.
- In n this regard the Umtata Airport shall be exclusively utilised for landing of Heads of State only.
- The other two airports in PE and EL shall be open to the VIPs and public and VVIPs attending the funeral will be driven by luxury coaches to Qunu to avoid stampede in the N2.
- Furthermore I would like to appeal to residents of the Eastern Cape for understanding as some roads might be closed or traffic diverted during this period. Road and Traffic management authorities will make announcements in this regard.
- Eskom has assured us that their Electricity network in the area has been maintained since September and contingency plans/backup are in place in case of lapse.
• Our economic network in the form of Banks, telecommunications, retail shops, media are ready to absorb the increased volumes this time.
• Our hospitality sector is ready in terms of providing accommodation and tourism attraction led by Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency – a umber of tourism information centre kiosk have been mounted around the province to make it easier for tourists and mourners to navigate our beautiful province.(Info packs will be provided especially to visitors).
- Indeed our accommodation in terms of beds would be overstretched during this period especially around Mthatha. I appeal to EC citizens to open their homes and accommodate visitors to our province.
• During the ‘national prayer and reflection day’ we are encouraging the religious sector in the province as they normally do – to lead us during this period from tomorrow. I urge all the people of the Eastern Cape in their individual and organisational capacity to continue mourning during this difficult time even beyond this day.
• The province will be hosting its own provincial memorial service in Port Elizabeth in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality at the 2010 World Cup Stadium on Tuesday, 13 Dec2013. We are encouraging all people of the Eastern Cape from all walks of life to join us in this solemn occasion.
• As part of our commitment to ensure that we heighten public participation in the ‘public mourning’ activities we have made available condolences books. A total number of 69 condolences books are currently being distributed throughout the province to cover 45 municipalities. Distribution is further being done to cover other strategic points such as in the State House, Office of the Premier administration building, Department of Local government offices, GCIS, House of Traditional Leaders and ANC Calata House. Through these books people could just write the messages of condolences.
• Since other public morning activities and the State funeral would not be accessible to everyone, we have identified public viewing mourning areas (PVMA’s) where public can view footage from events. For the 10 and 15Dec2013, the public viewing areas have been deployed as follows:
King Sabatha Dalindyebo
Port St Johns
Buffalo City Metro
• 3 PMVA’s around Qunu during the Memorial Service and the day of the state funeral are meant to accommodate villagers around.
• Our Safety and Security cluster is ready including SAPS police and Traffic Officers. This Team will be backed up by a team of 3000 marshals.
Once more I appeal to all the people of the Eastern Cape to support these initiatives and ensure that we demonstrate our humility to the world and give Madiba a dignified send off.
I thank you.
Eastern Cape Premier
For further information please contact: DDG in the Office of the Premier Mahlubandile Qwase, the Provincial Cabinet Spokesperson at 083 25 99 039.