All set for inauguration

2004-04-26 14:26
Pretoria - All is set for President Thabo Mbeki's inauguration in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Chief of government media liaison Mdu Lembede said on Monday 45 000 people were expected at the Union Buildings, including 5 000 invited quests.

He said special security measures were in place to ensure the safety of the visiting heads of state, heads of delegations and other VIPs.

Lembede said besides the SAPS's VIP protection unit, the bomb disposal unit, the crack squad and the hostage negotiation units were all on standby to cope with any possible development.

"It will be all hands on deck," he said.

Security services will also be on standby to ensure the safety of all people attending the inauguration.

Health services will be on standby to cover any emergency medical situation that may arise on the lawns where the public will be seated.

Buses

The area around the Union Buildings will be cordoned off, as well as streets near the Caledonian Sports Grounds, the SuperSport stadium in Centurion and the State Theatre in the city centre.

The public will be transported from specific points in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni.

The media and support staff will be bussed in from the SuperSport stadium in Centurion from 03:30 onwards.

From 06:30 onwards, invited guests will be transported by bus from Bryntirion, the parliamentary town, to the amphitheatre at the Union Buildings.

About 130 heads of state, VIPs including former presidents FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela and other government representatives will arrive by motorcade.

At 10:00 President Thabo Mbeki will arrive.

Additional people will be housed at the nearby Caledonian Sports Grounds where they will be able to watch the programme on big screens.

A fast food outlet will provide food parcels to the 40 000 people at the government's cost. Coca Cola will provide free cool drinks. Bottled water will also be provided. More than 400 portable toilets have been erected on the lawns.

Programme

At 10:00, Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson will inaugurate the president. The president will then address the nation.

From 11:00 to 12:00, a flypast and an SANDF military parade will take place.

A scripted performance will take place from 12:00 to 13:00.

From 13:00 to 14:00 invited guests will enjoy lunch in huge marquee tents erected for the purpose.

This will be followed by a five-hour concert.

Several big screens have been erected at strategic spots around the grounds.

SABC2

All the happenings will be broadcast live on SABC2 from 06:00 to 23:00.

The evening's ceremony will take place at the State Theatre, which will be attended by 1 300 invited guests. The public will be able to watch the show on big screens at Church Square. The ceremony will also be broadcast on SABC2.

Lembede said sunny weather has been broadcast and everybody is expected to have a marvellous day.

"It had better be good weather," he said. "Nothing else is part of the script."

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