Jacob Zuma arrives, proceedings underway at Union Buildings

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pretoria - President-elect Jacob Zuma and his first wife Zizakele "MaKhumalo" Zuma arrived at the Union Buildings, signalling the start of the official proceedings.

Mr Zuma, followed by the First Lady who was dressed in a detailed gold jacket and purple headscarf, greeted the top-ranking officials of the South African National Defence Force with a handshake before making his way up the red carpet to the podium.

At the podium he shook hands and hugged former President Thabo Mbeki and his wife Zanele before greeting former President Nelson Mandela. He kneeled down before South AfRICA'S first democratic President to exchange a few words before sitting down to allow proceedings to begin.

Mr Mandela, wearing his iconic black and white Madiba shirt and a thick black jacket to ward off the chill, had arrived shortly before the official proceedings began at 11am.

The formalities began with a prayer and then caretaker President Kgalema Motlanthe bestowED the National Order of Mapungubwe in platinum TO Mr Zuma - which is one of the highest awards in the country.

The President-elect then took the oath of office.

A 21-gun salute and a fly-past by four helicopters and Astra aircraft will signal the end of the ceremony.

Mr Zuma, on becoming South Africa's newest President, will deliver his inaugural address at noon.

Thereafter he is expected to walk down the stairs and onto the stage below at the south lawns to speak to the thousands of people expected to gather for his inauguration.

The crowds will then be treated to the music of different local artists and cultural dances, while invited guests will move to Bryntirion Estate for a lunch with Mr Zuma.

And to end the big day, the luminaries will be treated to a night concert. Monte Casino, in Johannesburg, will play host to a cultural programme, where artists such as Jonas Gwangwa, Oliver Mtukudzi, Lira and African Footprint will provide their entertainment.

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