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18 Heads of State to witness the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa at Union Buildings

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Simon Nare

President Cyril Ramaphosa will this Wednesday morning be inaugurated as the 7th democratically-elected President of South Africa with all the trappings of military gymnastics and funfair at the Union Buildings in Tshwane.

The swearing-in will be conducted by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in the presence of international guests and heads of state as well as representatives of foreign governments as Ramaphosa takes his oath of office for his second term.

The swearing-in will be conducted at the Union Building’s Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo arriving at Waterkloof Air Force Base for the Inauguration.

The Presidency in a statement said to date, 18 heads of state and government, three former heads of state and government and nine heads of delegation have confirmed attendance and additional confirmations were being received.

Countries that will be represented at a high level at the inauguration include the Kingdom of eSwatini and Kingdom of Lesotho; the Republics of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Angola and Tanzania; the Republic of Uganda; the People’s Republic of China; the Arab Republic of Egypt; the State of Palestine and the Republic of Cuba.

President E Mnangagwa of the Republic of Zimbabwe arriving at the Waterkloof Air Force Base for the Inauguration.

The fun-filled day will include a cultural programme on the South Lawns of the Union Buildings where local artists will showcase the nation’s cultural diversity through their respective performances for the throngs of ordinary people who will come to witness the proceedings.

The organisers are promising a production that they say will feature a combination of music genres and other cultural and artistic performances with a crossover appeal to reflect the nation’s achievement in the past three decades.

But the one spectacular feat to look out for is the South African National Defence Force when it performs its ceremonial elements of the inauguration as a demonstration to Ramaphosa, its commander-in-chief.

The ceremony will include, a 21-gun salute, a salute flight by the South African Air Force, inspection of a SANDF battalion, a battalion march past and a massed flypast, according to the programme.

His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini arriving at Waterkloof Air Force Base for the Inauguration.

The SANDF has been hard at work with its preparation over the past few days. In a video circulated on social media, Lieutenant Colonel Zanele Vayeke, an A109 commander says she will be leader of the helicopter unit during the inauguration.

“Part of the fly past we are going to have three helicopters doing a salute fly past to honour the president. They will be carrying three national flags. In front there will be the A109 leading the formation followed by the BK117 and the link,” says Vayeke who revealed that in 2019 she was the helicopter planner but this time around she will be leading from the air.

Some roads in and around the Union Building will be closed and motorists are advised to check the routes before heading to the city.

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