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Government pulls out all the stops ahead of the Presidential Inauguration

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Johnathan Paoli

Government has expressed its readiness ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings, Pretoria on Wednesday.

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) as well as the Ministry of International Relations have confirmed that security and other systems are in place to welcome foreign heads of state ahead of the ceremony.

His Excellency Salvador Valdes , Vice President of the Republic of Cuba, arriving at the OR Tambo International Airport for the Inauguration.

International Relations minister Naledi Pandor has expressed her confidence at the preparation ahead of receiving the international dignitaries.

“Invitations have been sent out to a number of heads of state and we’ve been receiving responses. A large number of invitations have gone to heads of state of the SADC region, central and east Africa, as well as the chairpersons of all economic bodies and of course the chairperson of the African Union Commission, the President of the Pan-African Parliament,” Pandor said.

ACSA spokesperson Ntokozo Mazibuko said complete and partial road closures were expected throughout the week around the precinct of Oliver Tambo International Airport to facilitate the incoming traffic.

“Travellers are advised that there will be limited access to the airport precinct due to several road closures and high police activity this week,” Mazibuko said.

She apologised for possible delays in travelling time and said alternatives have been prepared.

“To properly manage the flow of traffic, kindly note that vehicles on airport roadways will be diverted by the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department to the departures upper roadway, as well as parkade 2 south, levels 2 and 3, for pick-up and drop-off purposes,” she said.

Burundi Prime Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca arriving at the OR Tambo International Airport.

Tshwane Metro Police have confirmed road closures in and around the Union Buildings, with no private vehicles being allowed to drive into the precinct.

Minister in the presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni aid he swearing-in ceremony formed part of a public hearing of the Constitutional Council, with the president-elect expected to be sworn-in by the Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and take an Oath or Affirmation in line with schedule 2 of the Constitution.

Ntshavheni said the inauguration was a crucial feature for the country celebrating its third decade of freedom and said the theme of the ceremony would be “30 Years of Democracy, Partnership and Growth”.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is expected to perform ceremonial elements including a 21-gun salute, a salute flight by the South African Air Force, inspection of a SANDF battalion, a battalion march, and a massed fly by.

The Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Ministerial Cluster supported by NATJOINTS, have confirmed their full deployment in order to ensure safety and security throughout the ceremony.

“As demonstrated in action, our law enforcement agencies have the capacity and capability to keep South Africa safe and stable and no amount of veiled threats of instability should intimidate South Africans,” Ntshavheni said.

This follows Ramaphosa’s election on Friday as president-elect, securing 283 votes to Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s 44.

To date, 18 Heads of State and Government, three former Heads of State and Government and nine Heads of Delegation are expected to attend. Additional confirmations are 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.

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