Thousands queue to view Madiba

The body of Nelson Mandela is lying in state at the Union Buildings for a second day.

The body of former president Nelson Mandela arrives at the Union Buildings on 11 December 2013. Picture: Sapa.

PRETORIA - Thouands of people have already started queuing outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria where the body of former president Nelson Mandela is lying in state for a second day.

It's been a week since the global icon passed away peacefully at his Houghton home at the age of 95.

The hearse carrying Madiba's body arrived at the Union Buildings just before 8am with two air force Oryx Helicopters hovering above.

There was a brass band and the national anthem was playing as members of the defence force saluted.

Mandela's grandson, Mandla, stood by solemnly as the coffin, draped in the South African flag, was taken into the newly named Nelson Mandela amphitheatre.

It's expected to be another day filled with emotion as people get an opportunity to say goodbye to the father of the nation and hundreds of people are queuing for an opportunity to pay their respects .

Abigail Zuma from the Department of Correctional Services says it's important for her to see Madiba

"We really want to see it's him in the casket and say goodbye and honour him."

A glass shield is protecting Mandela's body and people are given just a few seconds to see him and say their goodbyes in their own way.

The global icon is dressed in one of his famous shirts, with yellow and black prints.

No one is allowed to take pictures of Madiba once inside the structure.

Members of the public will be able to see the body and pay their last respects between 8am and 5pm until tomorrow.


Meanwhile, hundreds more people are en-route to the Union Buildings.

They are being transported via buses provided by the City of Tshwane after there were problems with the Fountains Valley park-and-ride facility.

It was reopened this morning after it was closed by officials late last night.

The City of Tshwane's Selby Bokaba said the facility had initially been closed because a police scanner wasn't working, meaning members of the public could not be security checked.

But the city had this morning replaced the old scanner with another one.

One of the people who queuing there yesterday was suspended Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

He returned this morning and slammed the lack of organisation that saw hundreds of people being left stranded.

Proceedings are now running far smoother and the mood has also lifted considerably with smiles on many faces as hundreds continue to queue.

Busses continue to steadily stream in to transport the crowds to honour Madiba.

Meanwhile, a queue believed to be at least a kilometre long snakes around the gardens at the LC De Villiers sports ground in Hatfield and a tent has been set up to process people before they get onto a bus.

Many people are wearing their Sunday best and sheltering under umbrellas as the day quickly heats up.

While buses have started moving from the area, it's unclear whether everyone will have the opportunity to say farewell to Madiba.


Civilian staff at 1 Military Hospital greeted Mandela with song while military health services personnel saluted the cortege as it passed.

Nine Tshwane Metro Police officers and 15 military police in full dress uniform led the hearse out of the facility.

The procession headed to the Union Buildings via Kgosi Mampuru and Madiba Streets which were lined with thousands of people.

Two air force Oryx Helicopters are following the procession from above.


Yesterday was an emotional and overwhelming first day at the Union Buildings.

Several dignitaries and government officials including President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, former president Thabo Mbeki and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe joined the Mandela family at the Union Buildings to say goodbye to Madiba.

Thousands of South Africans lined up, waiting for the VIPs to finish their visit so they could also pay their last respects to the father of the nation.

The traffic-free zone around the Union Buildings took on a celebratory atmosphere as people gathered to pay their respects to Madiba.

The crowd of people cheered and sang songs as the convoy went by and some motorists abandoned their cars to come witness the historical moment, causing substantial traffic in the Pretoria CBD.