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‘Strict military protocols’ as Mandela lies in state

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Visitors filing past the open casket of former South African President Nelson Mandela will be governed by strict military protocols including a ban on cell phones and cameras, government spokesperson Phumla Williams said Wednesday during a press briefing.

“Visitors will not be able to stop at the casket as the continuous movement of people will help us to accommodate as many mourners as possible,” she added. “This way, we expect that up to 2,000 people per hour could file past the casket.”

The government said the only way for the public to see Mandela for the last time was by using a shuttle bus—a free service setup by the government—from one of three designated stops. “Visitors will return to the park-and-ride sites on the same shuttles. This means no-one will be able to leave the Union Buildings precinct on foot.”

The Union Buildings on Government Avenue in Pretoria, South Africa, played host to Mandela’s 1994 inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

“Apart from being shuttled to the Union building, there is no other way people can get to the Union Buildings,” Williams said as the government announced that surrounding suburbs will be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. “Indelible ink, such as that used during elections, will be used to mark mourners’ fingers so that no-one will be able to visit the Union Buildings more than once.”

Mandela’s funeral is scheduled for Sunday and will be televised live but the burial service will be private ceremony with family members, Williams said via her Twitter page Wednesday.

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