Zuma kicks off Freedom Day celebrations

President Jacob Zuma kicked off Freedom Day celebrations at the

Union Buildings in Pretoria today to celebrate 17 years since the first

non-racial elections in South Africa.

Zuma arrived around 10am, accompanied by Arts and Culture Minister

Paul Mashatile, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, Defence Minister Lindiwe

Sisulu and Tshwane mayor Gwen Ramokgopa.

It marked the opening of festivities.

The national anthem was played in the background by a military band

as Zuma walked towards the podium in Church Street, opposite the Union

Buildings.

At least 21 gunshots were fired in salute.

People climbed into trees to get a glimpse of Zuma and the

parade.

Security was tight with the army deployed around the Union

Buildings and some streets were closed off.

Zuma was expected to address the crowd which would also be

entertained by local artists throughout the day.

Freedom Day marks 17 years since the first democratic elections in

South Africa on April 27 1994, which voted the African National Congress and its

then-leader, Nelson Mandela, into power.

South Africans will go to the polls again on May 18 for local

government elections.?


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