Proceedings begin; Zuma takes oath

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Parliament - The bells have rung and proceedings are underway for the first sitting of the National Assembly.

The 400 members of the National Assembly are being sworn in, in groups of ten. They are taking an oath of affirmation in front of Chief Justice Pius Langa.

Proceedings kicked off with the singing of the National Anthem and a prayer.

African National Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma was among the first group to take the oath of affirmation. The group consisted of the top ten members on the ANC list, with the exception of the current President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Mr Zuma is expected to be elected President of South Africa this afternoon.

The members stood in front of Justice Langa, and with raised hands recited the oath, ending with "So help me God".

Mr Zuma arrived quietly at the National Assembly shortly before it opened.

Dressed in a black suite, crisp white shirt and black and yellow striped tie, Mr Zuma made a quiet entrance up the stairs of the National Assembly.

He acknowledged the media who were standing behind the balustrades next to the red carpet with a nod and smile, but did not make a comment.

Shortly afterwards, Deputy President Baleka Mbete in a classic rust-coloured two-piece, emerged at the steps of the National Assembly looking happy. She waived and smiled at the media and greeted them in different languages.