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Marathon swearing-in for Zuma’s Cabinet

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REUTERS

South African President Jacob Zuma takes his oath of office during his inauguration ceremony at the Union Buildings.

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma's new Cabinet took the oath of office in a marathon ceremony in the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria on Monday.

Proceedings began just after 3pm and were concluded by 6pm - with no fewer than four judges roped in to officiate over 72 newly appointed Cabinet members taking the oath.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng began the programme by swearing in new deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. Next in line were full Cabinet ministers.

Mogoeng was relieved by his deputy Dikgang Moseneke.

Constitutional Court judge Sisi Khampepe and North West Judge President Monica Leeuw swore in the deputy ministers.

Ramaphosa took his oath ending with “so help me God” and his hand on the Bible.

There were some light-hearted moments while ministers and deputy ministers took their oath.

Earlier, while Zuma read out the names of the ministers there was laughter at some of the unusual names.

These included new Home Affairs Minister Knowledge Malusi Gigaba, Sport Minister Fikile April Mbalula and Public Service and Administration Minister Ohm Collins Chabane.

The biggest laugh came when Zuma read out the Public Works Minister's name, Thulas Waltermade Nxesi, which was mistaken by some in the crowd as 'water maid' because of the way Mogoeng had pronounced it.

During the swearing in of the deputy ministers, Deputy police minister Maggie Sotyu stumbled over the word 'conscientiously' prompting her to stop and say “that's a tough one”.

The audience in the room started laughing. Afterwards, other deputy ministers were more conscious of the word and sometime giggled as they said it.

This prompted deputy minister in the presidency Buti Manamela to start his oath with “I consciously swear”, which again made guests laugh.

After being sworn in, deputy ministers walked up to Zuma and Ramaphosa to shake their hands.

Deputy Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams forgot that she had to shake their hands, which again produced laughter from the crowd.

Ndabeni-Abrahams smiled sheepishly as she redirected herself towards Zuma and Ramaphosa.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mwandile Masina, after taking his oath, said over the microphone to Leeuw “thank you my lady”, which made guests laugh.

Deputy ministers and ministers promised to “hold my office... with honour and dignity; to respect and uphold the Constitution and all other laws of the Republic of South Africa... not to divulge directly or indirectly secret matters entrusted to me; and to perform the duties of my office conscientiously and to the best of my ability.”

Those being sworn in ended their oath by saying “So help me God”, while others said: “I affirm”.

While the oath or affirmation was said in English some ministers opted to end in their mother tongue.

Guests at the swearing in included national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, former crime intelligence boss Richard McBride and African National Congress deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte.

After the ceremony, the Cabinet went outside for a photo with Zuma and the judges.

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