As Pretoria’s Loftus Stadium was filling up for Saturday’s inauguration of President-elect Cyril Ramaphosa, among the first to take their seats were people from his home province.
Dancing and singing, the crowd was in high spirits, celebrating what they said was a “big day” for them.
A group of ANC members at the front of the stands said they were from Makhado, in the north of the province, and had left “very early” to get to Pretoria for the big day.
Waving flags and wearing ANC kangas, the crowd danced to music from the rest of the African continent played at the stadium to mark Africa Day.
Seated towards the back of the stands was another group of ANC members from Vhembe district, in which Ramaphosa lived and went to school in Sibasa, outside Thohoyandou.
“We are very happy here today. We wouldn’t miss this,” said a woman, who is expected to be among 35 000 people in attendance.
In the middle of the stands were other Limpopo residents who had travelled to the inauguration from the Greater Tubatse Municipality in Burgersfort, in the south of the province.
Some of the heads of state expected to be in attendance
- Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana
- Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
- João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola
- Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia
- Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia and Chairperson of SADC
- Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique
- Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan
- Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda
- Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda
- King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho
- King Mswati III of the Kingdom of eSwatini
Asked if he was an ANC member, a man who identified himself only as Eric said: “Today is not a day for that. We are all here because the president is the president of all South Africans, not just of the ANC.”
The president-elect is expected to take his oath of office just after 11am, before Ramaphosa addresses the nation and the world at 12pm. Thereafter, with all protocol observed including a military salute and the singing of the national anthem, the president-elect will hold a state luncheon for invited guests and foreign dignitaries at the presidential guesthouse where Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will be the master of ceremonies.
This is the oath of office that president-elect will have to take in the presence of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng:
"In the presence of everyone assembled here and in full realisation of the high calling I assume as President of the Republic of South Africa I, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, swear that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other law of the Republic; and I solemnly and sincerely promise that I will always:
- Promote all that will advance the Republic, and oppose all that may harm it;
- Protect and promote the rights of all South Africans;
- Discharge my duties with all my strength and talents to the best of my knowledge and ability and true to the dictates of my conscience;
- Do justice to all; and
- Devote myself to the well-being of the Republic and all of its people.
So help me God"
Watch the SABC live stream here: