A round-up of the day’s news from South Africa
DAY OF PRAYER LAUNCHES WEEK OF MOURNING FOR MANDELA
South Africans of all colours and creeds remembered Nelson Mandela in a day of prayers on Sunday, holding him up as an example to build a better nation and world. Millions offered praise and reflected on a man celebrated as ‘Father of the Nation’ at churches, mosques, synagogues and community halls across the country. The day of prayers started an official programme of mourning that includes a memorial service in the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg stadium on Tuesday and a state funeral next Sunday at Mandela’s Eastern Cape ancestral home of Qunu – expected to be one of the biggest gatherings of world leaders in recent history. Fifty-nine foreign heads of state or government have said so far they will attend either the memorial ceremony or the state funeral.
QUEEN ELIZABETH TO PAY TRIBUTE TO MANDELA AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Queen Elizabeth will pay tribute to former President Nelson Mandela at a service at Westminster Abbey, the first time a non-British citizen will be honoured in such a way. Prince Charles is expected to fly to South Africa to represent the British royal family at the various memorial events being held to honour the world statesman, the Daily Mail reported. The queen will preside over a national service of thanksgiving for the life of Mandela, who referred to her as “this gracious lady” while she called him a “wonderful man”. “Her Majesty remembers with great warmth her meetings with Mr Mandela and sends her sincere condolences to his family and the people of South Africa at this very sad time,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
FOUR US PRESIDENTS TO ATTEND MANDELA MEMORIALS
The White House has confirmed President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will be joined former president George Bush and his wife Laura as they fly to South Africa on Air Force One to honour President Nelson Mandela. Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and their daughter Chelsea will also attend the Mandela memorial events. Clinton said the family was “looking forward to having the chance to say goodbye one last time”. Former president Jimmy Carter has also confirmed attendance.
MANDELA FAMILY SEND CONDOLENCES TO FAMILY OF BABY JAKE
President Nelson Mandela’s family has sent condolences the family of boxing legend Baby Jake Matlala, EWN reported. Baby Jake died on Saturday at the age of 51. Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba, said while the family was mourning their loss, they shared the Matlala family’s pain. He said it had come to their attention that “another hero” had passed away. “On behalf of our family we’d like to send our condolences and heartfelt message to Baby Jake’s family,” Ndaba Mandela said. Baby Jake, a former World Boxing Organisation, World Boxing Union (WBU) and International Boxing Association flyweight world champion, had suffered from complication related pneumonia.
NICO HENNING APPEARS IN COURT ON CHARGES OF MURDERING WIFE
Nico Henning has appeared in the Pretoria regional court on charges of killing his wife, Chanelle Henning, the Pretoria News reported. Henning has been fingered by one of the men found guilty of her murder as being the brains behind the hit on his estranged wife. Chanelle Henning’s parents, Sharon and Ivan Saincic, were in court to hear magistrate Desmond Nair read out the charges of murder and conspiracy to murder against their daughter’s husband. The case against Nico Henning was postponed to December 10 for a bail application.
PARTIES PUT ASIDE ELECTIONEERING TO MOURN MANDELA
South African political parties have put aside electioneering as the country mourns the loss of former President Nelson Mandela. The ANC is involved in organizing memorials and tributes to the man who remained an ex-officio member of its national executive committee, City Press reported. Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Alliance has suspended all election related activities. Spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the party’s “absolute focus is mourning the death of Nelson Mandela. That is that.” ANC campaign chief Malusi Gigaba told the newspaper the “ANC isn’t so unethical as to seek to capitalise opportunistically on Madiba’s death”.
SARS CUSTOMS TEAM MAKE COCAINE BUST AT BEIT BRIDGE
A customs team at the Beit Bridge border post in Limpopo have seized 80 kilograms of cocaine worth over R23 million. The South African Revenue Service said it had confirmed the customs officials had found “its biggest ever shipment of cocaine as it was being smuggled into the country”. Spokeswoman Marika Muller said the cocaine was concealed in a truck trying to enter South Africa from Zimbabwe. The truck had left from Malawi, she said. Muller said the customs official found A4-sized parcels inside the cabin that the river said contained his clothes. One hundred parcels weighing 800 grams were seized.
ANCYL AND EFF COME CLOSE TO TRADING BLOWS IN VILAKAZI ST
Provincial leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters and members of the ANC Youth League came close to trading blows in Soweto’s famous Vilakazi Street, Sapa reported. Both groups were there to honour former President Nelson Mandela. The ANCYL is reported have told the EFF they were “not wanted here” and told them to leave. But an ANCYL supporter separated the groups, telling them “Today we are one”. The EFF earlier visited Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s home, signing a book of condolence. DM Photo: Young girls take a moment to reflect and say a prayer for former president Nelson Mandela at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto on Sunday, 8 December 2013. (Picture: SAPA)
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