The Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, which is set to host its first presidential inauguration this weekend, was a hive of activity on Thursday with members of the security forces going through their paces, practising for the Saturday event.
Police Minister Bheki Cele told journalists at the stadium that his officers, supported by metro and traffic police are gearing up for the massive event, billed to attract thousands of South Africans and foreign heads of state.
“The figures that you see here, that will be working on the day, they are 2,557. These are the people that you see that are starting today. All of them, they are going to their workstations today and their workstations will end late on the 25th [Saturday] and on the 26th. [Regarding] exactly what they will be doing, that is not for you, for now,” said Cele.
“You will find them everywhere. They know what we will be doing and we know what they will be doing. We are very happy with the preparations as at all the times, they have done the best job starting from the elections up to this point. We are very hopeful, very confident that they will keep their work going.”
Following the victory of his African National Congress at the May 8 general elections, President Cyril Ramaphosa, 66, was on Wednesday formally elected to South Africa’s highest office in the National Assembly in Cape Town.
Ramaphosa was elected unopposed to loud cheers by ANC members of Parliament (MPs).
He received a standing ovation from all MPs, including those occupying the opposition benches.
Ramaphosa’s inauguration, unlike previous inaugurations of former South African presidents, will be held at the rugby and football stadium in a bid to cut costs.
On Thursday, Cele said apart from the 40 invited heads of state and other global dignitaries, “more and more are requesting to come on their own”.
Different units of the South African National Defence were on Thursday doings their parades on the turf, and several aircraft were flying overhead in preparation for the fly-past – a major highlight of the presidential inauguration.
– African News Agency (ANA)