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EC govt ready for Madiba's funeral

The EC government says it's ready to welcome guests who'll be attending Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

Preparations are nearing completion in Qunu where former president Nelson Mandela will be buried. Picture: Renee de Villiers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Eastern Cape government says it is ready for Nelson Mandela's funeral which will take place in Qunu on Sunday.

Mandela died peacefully at his Houghton home last Thursday at the age of 95.

Around 4,000 people are expected to attend the funeral but only 400 will be allowed to the burial site.

Eastern Cape MEC for provincial planning and treasury Phumulo Masualle told 567 Cape Talk they have done their best to prepare for this massive event.

"A lot has been done in anticipation of the numbers of people including security, safety, the infrastructure necessary and logistics. The Mthatha Airport had to be upgraded in good time so that we can be able to receive people via that channel as well as East London."

Masualle says they are ready to receive all the guests.

"As I speak, it's all systems go, we are ready."

Masualle adds they could not accommodate everyone at a single venue.

"We've arranged no less than 21 public mourning venues right across the province. In the immediate vicinity of Qunu there are about five of such venues each capable of accommodating easily more than 5,000 people just to make sure that there's no stampede at the homestead."

However, some Qunu residents have expressed disappointment at the exclusion.

Some say having to watch proceedings on television will be painful for the locals.

Meanwhile, Madiba is lying in state at the Union Buildings for the last time today.

His remains will be transported to Qunu tomorrow.