President Jacob Zuma, today, unveiled the South African Funeral Policy.
Contained in the manual are three types of funerals which are; the State Funeral, Official Funeral and Provincial Official Funeral.
The policy divided the State Funeral into two categories and they are:
State Funeral Category 1 – Individuals under this category include the President of the Republic of South Africa, the President-elect of the Republic of South Africa and Former Presidents of the Republic of South Africa.
State Funeral Category 2 – another set of people who would be accorded state funeral include Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa; Acting President of the Republic of South Africa and Former/Deputy Presidents of the Republic of South Africa.
According to the manual, remains of people who will be accorded presidential funeral will lie-in-state at the Union Buildings Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.
“This will not preclude the President or Acting President of the Republic of South Africa from declaring other appropriate centres for the same purpose‚ if necessary‚ or that the remains would not lie-in-state. The President or Acting President shall determine the length of the period for the lying-in-state,” it added.
During the presidential funeral, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) shall deploy a Guard of Honour for the arrival and removal of the remains from the venue of the lying-in-state; while SANDF sentries shall be posted to guard the remains continuously.
In furtherance, the South African Funeral Policy manual also stipulates that a State Memorial Service shall be held at the City Hall of the Capital City and Seat of Government. The President may grant exceptions to this‚ based on logistics or any other considerations.
In addition, it states that “reasonable costs” of the funerals will be borne by the government departments related to the services they are expected to offer‚ such as funeral undertaker costs and limited catering for the family and official State guests.
A special aide appointed by the director general in the presidency will be responsible for finding out the wishes of the next-of-kin‚ including the grave site‚ the type of service preferred‚ and choice of pall-bearers.
A special operations team must be set up to co-ordinate the funeral and liaise with the family‚ reporting directly to the incumbent president. Diplomats must co-ordinate arrangements for VIP mourners.
Provisions were also made for the size of the funeral programme. According to the South African Funeral Policy manual, the size of the programme shall be an A4 folded to an A5 size‚ printed on appropriate paper‚ including an obituary‚ photograph of the deceased‚ and the details of the programme.
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The Official Funeral is also divided into two categories:
Official Funeral Category 1 – individuals under this group are Serving Ministers, Speaker of the National Assembly, Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Premiers of Provinces, distinguished persons specifically designated by the President of the Republic of South Africa.
Official Funeral Category 2 is for the Spouse of a serving President, the Spouse of a serving Deputy President, Deputy Ministers, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Permanent Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa and The President of the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The Provincial Funeral is also divided into two categories:
Provincial Official Funeral Category 1 – The Speaker of the Legislature and Members of the Executive Committee fall under this category.
While the Provincial Funeral Category 2 is accorded to the Deputy Speaker of the Legislature.