Cassidian and its local partners Saab Grintek and Integcomm were commissioned by the South African Police Services (SAPS) to set up an extension of the SAPS Eastern Cape TETRA (terrestrial trunked radio) network to ensure the safety of the participants at Nelson Mandela’s funeral in his hometown Qunu. The Eastern Cape TETRA network from Cassidian was also used to cover the memorial service at Port Elizabeth Stadium, and airport security in Port Elizabeth and East London.
3,300 TETRA handheld terminals, including 2,500 of the brand new THR9 terminals bought especially for the event, were reprogrammed and distributed to all South African public safety responders. Additional radio dispatchers were stationed at the SAPS Command and Control Centres. Radio coverage in the Qunu area was enhanced by temporary transmission lines and microwaves. These were set up within a couple of days in order to extend coverage to this small rural village in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.
At the funeral on 15 December, around 4,500 people gathered in a tent set up at the family compound before making their way to the grave site together with several thousand others, who gathered in this small village. The system helped to ensure that everything ran smoothly and to guarantee the safety of all participants, including foreign envoys such as Britain’s Prince Charles, Monaco’s Prince Albert II and the businessman Richard Branson.
SAPS officials stated that they were extremely satisfied with the Cassidian TETRA network. They described the voice quality and PTT (push to talk) response time as excellent in comparison to other systems. The Cassidian TETRA network, which was monitored in real time tests, proofed its 100% availability allowing individual and group calls at any time and any location in the defined region.