New beginning for South Africa

Saturday, May 25, 2019

It’s a new era in South Africa as the country today rolls out the red carpet for the inauguration of Cyril Ramaphosa as the sixth democratically elected President.

President-elect Ramaphosa takes the Oath of Office after his party, the African National Congress, won the 8 May National and Provincial Elections.

On Wednesday, the 400-member National Assembly (NA) of Parliament unanimously elected him as President of the Republic.

Loftus Versfeld Stadium 

In a departure from the tradition of holding the inauguration at the Union Buildings, the event is taking place at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. However, it is still in keeping with the formal ceremony and the high security plans to ensure a successful event and safe celebrations.

The official programme starts at 10:55am with the arrival of the President-elect, followed by interfaith prayers led by the Chaplain General. A recital of the Preamble to the Constitution of South Africa will precede the swearing-in of the President by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Oath of Office, ceremonial procedures 

The President will take the Oath of Office in which he promises to perform the responsibilities of the office and uphold the Constitution, before signing the swearing-in certificate.

He will then take the National Salute. It will be the first time that the President will be saluted by the mighty military salute from the South African National Defence Force personnel, who will show off their force during a parade.

Members of the SA Army, Air Force, Navy, Military Service and the National Ceremonial Guard will form part of the battalion, who will usher the President to the sound of the National anthem, a 21-gun salute, a flight by four helicopters of the South African Air Force (SAAF), a massed flypast by aircraft of the SAAF and a display by the Silver Falcons.

President to address the nation 

The President will then make his address, where he will give the country and the international community a snap into his vision and intent during his term of office.

One of the key focus areas of this address will be on how with the entire country, he can build on past achievements and work even harder to tackle poverty, inequality and unemployment.

The President-elect will also touch on ways to strengthen the country’s democracy and continued efforts to build an inclusive economy that is on a trajectory of growth, development and a prosperous future.

With the Presidential Inauguration marking the beginning of the President’s term of office, it is a moment of great pride and a national celebratory event of major significance to all South Africans.

Guests attending the inauguration 

About 32 000 people are expected to converge on Loftus, with an additional 4 500 VIP guests.

These will include Heads of State and Government from the regional Southern Africa Development Community and the continent. They are joined by representatives from the continental regional economic blocks, former liberation movements, fraternal countries, the African Union, United Nations, members of the diplomatic corps and eminent persons and former presidents of the Republic, Cabinet ministers and their deputies, MPs, provincial Premiers, MECs and mayors.

South Africans have not been left out in celebrating the country’s democratic values and system of governance. Gauteng province, together with its neighbouring provinces - the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West - are bussing in over 30 000 members of the public to witness the celebrations.

In addition, the stadium has opened its doors to 10 000 public walk-ins.

Government has also set up eight live viewing events in the eThekwini Metro, Ugu, uMgungundlovu, Amajuba, Umzinyathi, Zululand, Ilembe, and uThukela Districts.

Theme for the inauguration 

The theme for the inauguration is ‘Together Celebrating Democracy: Renewal and Growth for a Better South Africa’, which reinforces that everyone has a role to play in building a brighter tomorrow.

It emphasises that South Africans must build on the country’s achievements and work even harder to tackle poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Africa Day, 25 years of freedom 

The pomp and ceremony will coincide with Africa Day, where the continent celebrates the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity, which later evolved to be the African Union. 

The inauguration also comes at a time when South Africa is celebrating 25 years of freedom. -