Heads of state line up for Zuma’s inauguration


23 May 2014

South Africa will roll out the red carpet for 29 heads of state, nine deputy and seven former heads of state, two monarchs and a host of other dignitaries at Jacob Zuma’s inauguration for a second term as President of South Africa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Saturday.

Presidents Goodluck Jonathan (Nigeria), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Joseph Kabila (DRC), John Dramani Mahama (Ghana), Armando Guebuza (Mozambique) and Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, are among the list of heads of state confirmed by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on Friday.

Former presidents Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique) and Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia) will also grace the occasion, along with Salim Ahmed Salim, the former prime minister of Tanzania and former chairperson of the African Union’s forerunner, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

South Africa’s BRICS partner countries will be represented at the event by Brazilian Vice-President Michel Temer, outgoing Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese Home Affairs Minister Li Liguo, and Sergey Naryshkin, chairman of the State Duma of Russia’s Federal Assembly.

African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and a representative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will also be among the guests.

Approximately 4 500 people will be accommodated in the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre at the Union Buildings, while up to 20 000 people are expected to gather on the Southern Lawns to witness the event, which will include aerial displays by the South African Air Force and performances by leading artists such as Mafikizolo, Zahara, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Chomee.

On Friday, Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane called on all South Africans to take a few hours out of their time on Saturday to be part the occasion, adding that children and young people in particular “should be encouraged to observe this event as part of building social cohesion and developing appreciation for what makes us special as a nation”.

Those who cannot attend will be able to follow proceedings on television or radio, or at 47 public viewing areas spread across the nine provinces.

The inauguration ceremony proper will commence at 11am, with inter-faith prayers and a recital of the Preamble to the Constitution of South Africa preceding the swearing-in of the President by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

The President will take the oath of office before signing the swearing-in certificate. He will then take the national salute before addressing the nation from the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre as the country’s newly inaugurated President.

After a rendition of the national anthem and a civilian fly-past by South African Airways, the President will depart for the Southern Lawns for a brief address to the audience at this venue.

He will then leave for a presidential state luncheon with visiting heads of state and other VIPs at Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House.

People who want to be part of the Southern Lawns event are advised to make use of the public park-and-ride facility at the Tshwane Events Centre in the west of the city, from which buses will begin shuttling people from 6am.

SAinfo reporter and SAnews.gov.za