Johannesburg, Dec 10: President Pranab Mukherjee arrived here on Tuesday to attend a memorial service in honour of South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
Mandela who had been suffering from a recurring lung infection and a prolonged spell of ill-health, died on December 5. He was 95.
Mukherjee is among more than 90 heads of state and government, who will attend the memorial service, which will be held at the FNB Stadium, where Mandela made his last major public appearance during the 2010 Football World Cup.
He is one of only six heads of state who will address the crowd at the memorial service.
The President is accompanied by a delegation, which includes UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Members of Parliament, Sitaram Yechuri and Satish Chandra Mishra.
In his departure statement, Mukherjee said that it was with sadness that he was heading to South Africa as the leader of the Indian delegation to attend the state memorial service being held in honour of Nelson Mandela.
Mukherjee said that the high profile delegation that was accompanying him to Johannesburg was a reflection of the high degree of love and respect that Dr. Mandela commanded in India and among Indians for his myriad achievements.
He said: “It is with sadness that I leave for South Africa to attend the State Memorial Service in honour of Dr. Nelson Mandela who left his worldly abode on 5 December 2013. (ANI)