20 May 2014
Preparations are in full swing for Jacob Zuma’s inauguration as South African President on Saturday. The event is expected to draw thousands of people, including numerous current and former heads of state, to the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
“Government has thus far received confirmations from 26 heads of state and 11 prime ministers and/or vice-presidents,” acting Government Communication and Information System CEO Phumla Williams told journalists in Pretoria on Monday.
“This equates to a total of 37 heads of state and government who will attend. Also in attendance will be four former heads of state, 14 eminent persons and 118 foreign ambassadors resident in South Africa.”
Regarding the budget allocation, Williams said expenditure would be less than what had been spent on previous inaugurations. Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane said last week that the inauguration had been budgeted for within various government departments.
“Departments have been encouraged to cut out any expenses that can be avoided, so as to be sensitive to the austerity measures applied throughout government,” Williams said. “Accountability in this regard will follow the normal accounting procedures.”
Williams said the government encouraged all South Africans to be part of the occasion, adding that those who could not attend would be able to follow proceedings on television and radio, or at 47 public viewing areas in the provinces.
Saturday’s proceeedings will start with invited guests and members of the public arriving at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre and the Southern Lawns at the Union Buildings from as early as 8am.
There will be no private vehicle access to the Union Buildings or the area immediately surrounding the venue. Instead, there will be a park-and-ride facility for members of the public at the Tshwane Events Centre, and a park-and-ride facility for invited guests and VIPs at Rietondale Park on Soutpansberg Road.
People living in the vicinity of the Union Buildings and the Bryntirion area will be asked to present their municipal accounts at traffic control points.
“Even though the event is taking place on a weekend, Tshwane Metro Police will enforce the road closures and motorists are kindly requested to adhere to the arrangements made for this day,” Williams said.
Members of the public attending the event are advised that no alcohol, drugs, firearms, weapons, bottles or cans will be allowed.