Mandla arrived after 7.30am and greeted other guests seated in a marquee erected in front of Mandela’s enormous statue.
Struggle veteran and lawyer George Bizos arrived and was greeted and hugged by Mandla inside the marquee. Also seated with other guests was struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada. Mandela’s granddaughter Ndileka Mandela arrived shortly after Mandla.
Machel greeted the family, veterans, and Cabinet ministers before taking a seat next to Mandla.
Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, struggle veteran Sophie de Bruyn, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Ngakula were also present.
A wreath-laying ceremony at the statue was expected to commence.
By 8am, there was no sign of Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.