Thousands expected at Presidential Inauguration

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pretoria - Thousands of people, including former Heads of State and eminent persons, are expected to witness the Presidential Inauguration next Saturday, 24 May, the Inauguration Inter-Ministerial Committee said on Thursday.

Briefing reporters, Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration and Chairperson of the Inauguration Inter-Ministerial Committee, Collins Chabane, confirmed -- following the fifth democratic elections held on 7 May -- the country’s President elect will be sworn in on 24 May.

The inauguration will be held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Government expects thousands of people to show up for the ceremony, with 4 500 people to be accommodated at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.

Those accommodated in the amphitheatre will include Members of Parliament, former Heads of State, Heads of State and Government and eminent persons, among others.

Minister Chabane would not be drawn in on which well-known names were on the guest list. Those that have been invited, he said, were still replying to the invitations. The committee, he said, will make those details available closer to the time.

“Details will be provided in due course on the processes of accreditation of invited guests. Confirmations of attendance will also be provided in due course, as guests are still responding to invitations,” he told a packed media briefing.

The remaining guests will be accommodated on the Southern Lawns of the Union Buildings, while other members of the public will be able to follow proceedings on live television, radio broadcasts and public viewing areas at 47 sites across the country.

Guests, who are expected to collect their accreditation on 21 and 22 May, are expected to arrive for Saturday’s ceremony between 5am and 8am ahead of the ceremony, which is scheduled to get underway at 11am.

Details of other logistics, including park-and-rides and road closures, will be announced next week.

On the issue of developments in the platinum belt possibly overshadowing the inauguration, Minister Chabane said government remained hopeful for a solution to the labour dispute, which started 16 weeks ago.

“It is the wish of all South Africans that there should always be calm and stability in every part of the country, whether there is an inauguration or not. Moving from that basis, it’s our hope that the role players, who are dealing with the matters related to  the labour dispute in the platinum industry, will continue to search for a solution to the problem and also that parties conduct themselves in a manner that will encourage peace and stability and avoid in intimidation,” said Minister Chabane.

The cost implications of the ceremony, said the minister, in response to a question, will be “far lesser than the cost implications of the inaugurations that took place before”.

Timeline

Ahead of the inauguration, the National Assembly will convene its first sitting next Wednesday, where members of Parliament will be sworn in.

This will be followed by the swearing in of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of the Republic. According to the Constitution, the President should be sworn in within five days of being elected by the National Assembly.

By the time the inauguration takes place, the nine provinces would have elected their Premiers and provincial delegates to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), which will have its first sitting on 22 May.

The period ahead, Minister Chabane said, creates an opportunity for South Africans to reflect following “very competitive and robust” electioneering.

Government once again thanked the nation for contributing to the success of the 2014 General Elections, emphasizing that it is “work as usual for the national executive, in terms of the Constitution”.

“We look forward to the coming milestones being as well-managed as the election process itself and hope that South Africans will derive new hope, optimism and energy for an even better future,” said Minister Chabane.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, Health Deputy Minister Gwen Ramokgopa, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, National Treasury Deputy Minister Nhlanhla Nene, and Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor were among the ministers present at Thursday’s briefing. - SAnews.gov.za

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