Mandela funeral: GP hotels booked out

Gauteng hotels have all been block-booked to cater for various foreign dignitaries arriving for the funeral.

Tributes continue to be placed at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City. Picture: Marc Lewis/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As South Africa prepares for the influx of people expected for former President Nelson Mandela's funeral, all hotels in Gauteng have been placed on an immediate block out.

President Jacob Zuma, in a public announcement on Thursday night, told the nation Madiba had passed on.

Travel agents have been notified that that due to various government and consulate arrangements, all hotels cannot not be booked until the 25th of this month. (Christmas day).

Thousands of people chant outside Nelson Mandela's Soweto house in Vilakazi Street to pay tribute to him following his death on 6 December 2013. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

All rental car companies nationally, and in Gauteng in particular, are also on a block-out booking, effective immediately.

The Khoisan leadership on stage during the interfaith service at the Grand Parade in Cape Town. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN.

Meanwhile, South African Airways (SAA) says it has put a special chartered air transport service in place to accommodate mourners who have been invited to attend the funeral service in Qunu on 15 December.

A memorial service will also be held at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.

Tributes continue to be placed at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City. Picture: Marc Lewis/EWN.

SAA says the services will not disrupt their normal services to and from East London.

The company's Tlali Tlali says, "It's an additional service to what we currently have as a normal daily service."

ROAD CLOSURES

Traffic around the country has also been affected.

In Houghton, there are road restrictions along Central Street, Third, Twelfth and Eleventh Avenues around Madiba's home.

Road closures are in place in Houghton, Johannesburg.

Motorists should expect delays.

Cape Town has also launched an extensive road-closure plan to accommodate memorial events.

The plan will be in place for the next two weeks.

Roads affected are:

• Longmarket and Corporation Streets

• Darling between Plein and Buitenkant Streets

• Parade Street between Longmarket and Darling Streets

• Corporation Street between Longmarket and Caledon Streets

Access will be given to residents and businesses only, while on some roads deliveries will be permitted.