Pretoria - Guests and members of the public were in high spirits at Loftus Versfeld Stadium as the official programme of Cyril Ramaphosa's inauguration kicked off on Saturday morning.
Ramaphosa is set to be inaugurated as President of South Africa before thousands of South Africans, heads of states, dignitaries and esteemed guests.
He is the fifth democratically elected president.
Vuvuzelas could be heard blaring and many flags waved as members of the public continued streaming into the half-full stadium with just under an hour to go before Ramaphosa takes his oath before Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
About 32 000 people are expected to converge on Loftus, with an additional 4 500 VIP guests, including Cabinet ministers and their deputies, MPs, provincial premiers, MECs and mayors.
Of the 32 000 public seats, 10 000 will be accredited walk-ins and the other 22 000 will come from North West, Free State, Limpopo, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
The occasion kicked off with entertainment from a host of musical groups, including Grammy award-winning group Soweto Gospel Choir before formalities got underway with the arrival of dignitaries.
Programme directors, former speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete and ANC deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte, introduced the various leaders as they arrived, which included former and current heads of states from Africa and the world.
Among those making their arrival was the Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who received a rousing applause from the crowd, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Namibian President and Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson Hage Geingob as well as Angolan president João Lourenço.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Félix Tshisekedi, President of Tanzania Dr John Magufuli and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi were also among those in attendance.
Saturday's inauguration is the first to not take place at Union Buildings.IOL