15 May 2014
Thousands of people, including current and former heads of state and eminent persons, are expected to attend the inauguration of Jacob Zuma as South African President on Saturday, 24 May, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane told journalists in Pretoria on Thursday.
The inauguration will be held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Government expects thousands of people to show up for the ceremony, with 4 500 people to be accommodated in the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre, including Members of Parliament, current and former heads of state and various eminent persons.
Chabane would not be drawn in on which names were on the VIP guest list. “Confirmations of attendance will be provided in due course, as guests are still responding to invitations,” he said.
The remaining guests will be accommodated on the Southern Lawns of the Union Buildings, while other members of the public will be able to follow proceedings on live television, radio broadcasts and public viewing areas at 47 sites across the country.
On the question of developments in the platinum belt possibly overshadowing the inauguration, Chabane said the government remained hopeful for a solution to the labour dispute, which started 16 weeks ago. “It’s our hope that the role players … will continue to search for a solution to the problem and also that parties conduct themselves in a manner that will encourage peace and stability and avoid intimidation.”
In response to another question, Chabane said the cost implications of the inauguration ceremony would be “far less” than those of previous presidential inaugurations.
Ahead of the inauguration, the National Assembly will convene its first sitting of the new term next Wednesday, when members of Parliament will be sworn in. This will be followed by the swearing in of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of the Republic.
By the time the inauguration takes place, the nine provinces will have elected their Premiers and provincial delegates to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), which will have its first sitting on 22 May.
Chabane said the government once again thanked the nation for contributing to the success of the 2014 general elections, emphasizing that it would now be “work as usual for the national executive, in terms of the Constitution.
“We look forward to the coming milestones being as well-managed as the election process itself, and hope that South Africans will derive new hope, optimism and energy for an even better future.”