South Africa gears up for Zuma’s inauguration as president

May 1st, 2009 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Pretoria, May 1 (IANS) Heads of state from 18 countries will attend the inauguration ceremony of South Africa’s president-elect Jacob Zuma May 9.
More than 5,000 high-profile guests are expected to join in the celebrations at the Union Buildings here.

Minister in the presidency Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said that the inauguration would be a culmination of the festivities following the successful election victory of Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC) in the recent polls.

Members of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces, who will be sworn-in May 6 and 7, respectively, will also join the celebrations, Msimang told BuaNews Thursday.

Heads of state, members of parliament, diplomats and officials from the UN, the African Union and the South African Development Community (SADC), as well as global business leaders, will attend the inauguration, the minister said.

She said Zuma will take the oath of office in the presence of heads of state and Chief Justice and Head of Constitutional Court Pius Langa will preside over the meeting.

Zuma will observe a Guard of Honour as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the National Salute will comprise a salute flight by four South African Air Force helicopters and Astra aircraft as well as a 21-round gun salute, she added.

The minister said some 30,000 common people will also witness the historic event from the lawns of the Union Buildings. Various cultural programmes would also be organised to mark the occasion, she added.

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