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Guard of Honour formed for Madiba

A motorcade transporting Nelson Mandela's remains has arrived at the Union Buildings.

People lined up for the procession bearing former president Nelson Mandela's body headed to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 11 December 2013. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Hundreds of police officers and soldiers are stationed outside the Union Buildings this morning as the procession bearing former president Nelson Mandela's body arrived.

Madiba's body will lie in state for three days ahead of his funeral in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on 15 December.

His body will be transported daily from the 1 Military Hospital to the Union Buildings.

Government has invited members of the public to form a guard of honour each morning along the route as his body is transported to the seat of government.

The public will be allowed to view his body from midday today but only if they use the park and ride facilities provided.

President Jacob Zuma and various dignitaries are expected to pay their respects to Mandela before the public is allowed in.

A celebratory atmosphere erupted in front of the hospital after the procession escorting Mandela's remains drove past.

A group of Tshwane Metro Police bikes led the motorcade followed by 15 military police officers dressed in full uniform on their bikes.

The black Mercedes hearse with large glass windows shows Madiba's casket draped in the South African flag.

Military personnel lined the road out of the facility.

Standing at attention, they saluted South Africa's first democratically elected president.

The procession is being followed by a dozen or so military vehicles and an Air Force Oryx helicopter.

THE AMPHITHEATRE

Communications officials say no one will be allowed near the Union Buildings unless they use the park and ride facilities.

The area has been cleared by police and sniffer dogs.

A mobile wooden structure has been erected in the centre of the amphitheatre its decorated with bouquets of Saint Joseph's lilies.

In the middle is a platform where Madiba will lie in state.

There are already thousands of people in Madiba Street singing struggle songs and waving the South African flag.

A short while ago, the convoy carrying Madiba's body passed through here and people saluted the convoy and also shouted Amandla.

During yesterday's memorial service, president Zuma announced the amphitheatre where Madiba was inaugurated in 1994, and where his body will lie in state, has been renamed the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.

Cameras, including cellphones, will not be allowed at the Union Buildings.

THE ROUTE

Every day from 11 to 13 December, a procession will leave the 1 Military Hospital at 7am.

It will pass by Thaba Tshwane and arrive at the Union Buildings just before 8am.

Only the Mandela family and VVIPs will be able to view the body today from 10am to 12pm.

Members of the public will then file past the body from 12pm to 5.30pm.

The public will have access to casket from 8am to 5.30pm on Thursday and Friday.