SANDF stands ready to welcome President-elect

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pretoria - In freshly pressed green uniforms and polished shoes, members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have lined up at the Union Buildings.

The SANDF members, who are looking their best today, will ensure prestige and tradition are brought to the grand ceremony today.

President-elect Jacob Zuma is expected to be accompanied by his three wives, children and close relatives as well as caretaker President Kgalema Motlanthe to the formal proceedings, which are due to start at 11am.

An impressive list of the SANDF's most senior officials are waiting to welcome and usher the man who will become their next Commander in Chief.

Chief of the SANDF, General Godfrey Ngwenya, Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Themba Matanzima, Chief of the Army, Lieutenant General Solly Shoke, Chief of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano, Chief of the Navy, Vice Admiral Refiloe Mudimu and Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Vijay Ramlakan are all expected to be at the entrance of the amphitheatre to welcome the President-elect and his guests.

A Guard of Honour will be formed by the National Ceremonial Guard.

Following the official ceremony, presided over by Chief Justice Pius Langa, the SANDF will conduct a traditional formal procedure to signal that South Africa has a new President.

A 21 Gun Salute by the 88mm Gun Troop from the Artillery Mobilisation Regiment from Potchefstroom will take place.

There will also be a spectacular Salute Flight by four helicopters of the SA Air Force and a mass fly past by aircraft of the SA Air Force. The Silver Falcons will also perform an air display.

Following the air display, there will be a final National Salute and the National Anthem will be played by the National Ceremonial Guard Band.