The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) says it is more than ready to deploy its various units to the much-awaited Presidential Inauguration on Saturday.
Speaking to SAnews on Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Makopo said the Defence Department is this week putting the final touches to preparations for the ceremony.
Makopo said the SANDF’s contribution to proceedings is largely ceremonial.
“If you look at all the elements that are involved, we have the ceremonial guard, which will be part of the entire event. We will also be providing comprehensive, real time medical cover during the project, the motorcade and motorcycle movement by the military police. There will also be involvement of the Air Force, which will conduct a flypass,” he said.
The SANDF’s four artillery regiments will also administer the 21-gun salute.
Despite the inauguration this year being held at Loftus Versfeld stadium, away from the ancestral stomping ground of the Union Buildings, Makopo said this logistical arrangement has had minimal impact on the SANDF’s preparations.
Psychologically and physically, he said, the troops are “110% ready”.
“For us, it’s just a change of venue. The rationale behind it is to get more people to the stadium. This will also give us more space. Planning and arrangement were not affected at all.”
He said individual services and divisions of the SANDF began preparing for the big day on 13 May.
“On 16 May, that was when everything was amalgamated. We started doing our rehearsals at a central location, where we are getting ourselves ready. We are going all out in terms of our contribution for the project.”
Although Makopo was unable to provide the precise number of SANDF personnel to be deployed on the day of the inauguration for security reasons, he said the defence force was ready for the ceremony.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele will on Thursday address and inspect the law enforcement parade prior to deployment in preparation for the Presidential Inauguration, which is expected be graced by several Heads of State and thousands of South Africans.
Therefore, the Police Ministry said in a media advisory, effective and efficient security of this event is paramount. – SAnews.gov.za