'Around 100,000 people' viewed Nelson Mandela's body

Crowds are already building at the airport in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, ahead of the arrival of the plane carrying Nelson Mandela's body. Credit: Reuters/Siegfried Modola

The South African government has estimated around 100,000 passed by Nelson Mandela's coffin while it laid in state for three days at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, including more than 50,000 on the final day.

A statement said: "(The) government reiterates its appreciation to all the people of our country for taking time off from their daily schedules to travel to the Union Buildings to bid President Mandela farewell.

"The expression of love and support has brought immense comfort to the family and loved ones of Tata Madiba."

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Estimated 100,000 see Mandela lying in state

An estimated 100,000 people have seen Nelson Mandela lying in state in Pretoria, according to the South African government. Tens of thousands of mourners were also turned away. His body has now been moved ahead of his funeral on Sunday.