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.


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.


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.


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."


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.