All in place ahead of Buthelezi’s funeral

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Preparations have been finalised for the burial of the prime minister of the Zulu nation and founding president of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi later on Saturday.

The day will start with a private family prayer. Mourners will then proceed to the Prince Mangosuthu stadium in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal for Buthelezi’s category one Special Official Funeral which the President specifically accords to persons of extraordinary credentials.

The funeral will incorporate elements of military honours including the 21 Gun Salute. Since Tuesday the flags have been flying at half-mast and this will continue until later on Saturday evening.

At least 20 000 mourners are expected to attend the funeral at which President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the eulogy. Other dignitaries expected to attend the funeral are former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma as well as Buthelezi’s lifelong friend the former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo.

Police presence has been heightened and mourners have been urged to conduct themselves in an orderly and responsible manner. Those who will be dressed in traditional regalia have been advised that traditional spears and shields will be allowed at the venue in line with the Zulu tradition, however, members of the public are warned that no guns or illegal discharging of firearms will be permitted at the stadium.