Tshwane - President Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa's 5th democratic president Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Saturday.
Ramaphosa had arrived moments earlier, accompanied by his wife Dr Tshepo Motsepe. The lively crowd in the stadium erupted with cheers as Ramaphosa said, "So help me God", raising his right hand on the podium.
The crowd gathered at Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria cheered loudly on Saturday morning as Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa arrived, making his way to join other heads of state on the stage.
Heads of state and government, including Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, Namibia's Hage Geingob, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame were among the many dignitaries who walked the red carpet to the massive stage erected on the stadium turf.
Mnangagwa posed, waving at the scrum of photographers and journalists, before turning to the ecstatic crowd.
Moments later, the crowd erupted again as King Mswati of Eswatini's arrival was announced.
Despite the chill in the air, thousands of people started streaming into Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria from early on Saturday morning to witness the inauguration of Ramaphosa.
Just after 6am, police officers were directing the lively crowds into seats ahead of the landmark event. The streets outside the football and rugby stadium were heavily guarded by police officers, with many usually busy streets cordoned off to traffic.
Government's communication and information system (GCIS) said provision had been made for members of the public to witness the inauguration. Thirty-two-thousand of the 51,762 seats at Loftus Versfeld Stadium were available for members of the public.
Those unable to attend the event in person had been encouraged to watch proceedings at public viewing sites across the provinces.
"A list and addresses of the viewing sites with contact person/s and the coordinates is available on https://bit.ly/2VWZhFR. Proceedings of the presidential inauguration will also be live streamed on the government website: https://www.gov.za/inauguration2019," acting GCIS director general Phumla Williams said.
Arrangements had also been made for people disabilities, including sign language interpreters on the stage, said Williams.
African News Agency (ANA)