“It’s going to be spectacular in terms of sports and performances,” Mbalula told reporters at FNB stadium in Soweto.
“We are ready. For the first time we will be bringing premier sporting codes on the same field on the same day.”
The event on Saturday would feature a Bafana Bafana match against Burkina Faso and the Springboks playing against Argentina. The celebration would start with a dinner on Friday evening to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
Former presidents Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk, and deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe were among the invited guests.
There would be a parade by South Africa’s sport stars from all sporting codes, said Mbalula. These would include former long distance runner Elana Meyer, swimmer Chad le Clos, former middle-distance runner Hezekiel Sepeng, and former swimmer Penny Heyns.
“The champions will come to pay tribute to the role that Madiba’s magic has inspired all of them to overcome personal obstacles, and triumph on the world stage.”
Passenger Rail Agency of SA chief executive Lucky Montana said the agency had made trains available to transport fans to the event for free.
“We have made capacity for 40,000 people from across the country. Trains will haul people in from everywhere… 50 buses will also be available to shuttle fans,” he said.
The field would be converted from a soccer pitch to a rugby field within minutes immediately after the Bafana Bafana game, Jacques Grobbelaar of Stadium Management SA said.
Workers demonstrated on the field how quickly the conversion would happen on Saturday.
“It is not a long process… the conversion of the field, the removal of the soccer goal posts to make way for rugby can be done within five minutes,” he said.
A concert would take place Saturday evening. On the line-up are DJ Black Coffee, Zahara, Toya Delazy, Mafikizolo, Kurt Darren, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Salif Keita, and Elvis Blue.
At least 12,500 private security guards, 600 SAPS officers, and the Johannesburg metro police would be on duty.