Union Buildings abuzz with activity

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pretoria - With less than 24 hours before President-elect Jacob Zuma is inaugurated as the country's first citizen, the Union Buildings, where the prestigious ceremony will be held, is abuzz with activity.

Various teams are putting the finishing touches to the amphitheatre, which will seat all Heads of State and invited guests as well as to the southern lawns, where more than 30 000 people are expected to gather to witness the event.

The red carpet has been rolled out, on which the President-elect and other VIP's will walk up the stairs and take up their positions at the west wing of the Union Buildings.

At the main stage, where Mr Zuma will be seated, and take his oath of office, at least six black sofas - still covered in plastic - are being strategically placed. In front of the sofas is a wooden podium with a few microphones.

It is at this podium where the new President will address the nation for the first time.

A plant and nursery team is also on site, ensuring the ambience created is one that will suit tomorrow's historic event.

The chairs in the amphitheatre are also being covered in various materials of different hues. Each colour marks a different seating area for guests.

Adjacent to the entrance of the main stage where the President will sit, one can see the two canons, which will be used for the 21 gun salute.

A large contingent of South African Police Service and Military Police is evident on site, an indication that security will be given top priority tomorrow.

Media crew teams are also on site, setting up in advance to ensure that the prestigious ceremony will be captured live and witnessed as it happens by all in the country.

On the lawns of the Union Buildings, where a large stage has been constructed for local artists to entertain the masses, sound system technicians are going about their tasks to ensure quality sound for the event.

Two big screens and several smaller ones have been set up around the stage to ensure that every reveller who has made their way to the Union Buildings to be a part of the ceremony and celebration, is able to view the proceedings every step of the way.