Pretoria - Costs containment measures have forced the South African government to reduce its spending for the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa by more than R100million.
This was revealed yesterday by Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma - the Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation - who is heading the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the inauguration.
She was briefing the nation about preparations for the official inauguration of Ramaphosa following the ANC victory in the May 8 national elections.
Dlamini Zuma has vowed to spend less than R150m on the inauguration of Ramaphosa compared to the R240m it spent for the inauguration of Jacob Zuma in 2014.
Ramaphosa is due to be inaugurated on May 25. This coincides with the continental celebrations of Africa Day. It is also the birth of the African Union forerunner the Organisation of African Unity, formed in Ethiopia in 1963.
Dlamini Zuma said that prior to the inauguration, the country will have its first sitting of Parliament on May 22 where 400 parliamentarians will be sworn in.
The MPs will then elect a president who will officially take an oath of office at a ceremony to be held at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria. “We chose the stadium because it is more cost effective compared to using the Union Buildings, which carries high preparation costs, in particular the preparation of the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.
“In line with the government’s austerity measures, we were happy to go with the least costly option,” Dlamini Zuma said.
She said the other reason for chosing the stadium for the inauguration was for it to be as inclusive as possible by allowing the main events to take place in one venue. The inauguration will be held under the theme, Together celebrating democracy: Renewal and growth for a better South Africa.
Dlamini Zuma said the inauguration would be attended by all heads of state of the Southern African Development Community who have been invited.
“The guests also include representatives from the continental regional economic blocks, former liberation movements, fraternal countries, the African Union, the United Nations, members of the diplomatic corps and eminent persons and former presidents of South Africa,” Dlamini Zuma said.
She said they had limited the invitation to the heads of state in line with the cost cutting measures.
Dlamini Zuma also said the government has invited 4 500 guests from various sectors of society including parliamentarians, the judiciary, ministers and deputies, premiers, MECs and executive mayors.
“We expect close to 32000 people to come to the stadium. About 22000 will be bused in from Gauteng, North West, Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
The government has also asked 10000 people who will walk in at the stadium to get their accreditation at Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool, popularly known as Affies. Accreditation opens at 3am until 7am on May 25.
“There will also be a park-and-ride for general access to the stadium from the Tshwane Events Centre to the accreditation centre. The shuttles will commence from 3am until 6.30am,” Dlamini Zuma said.
She said the government has made provision for people with disabilities, saying sign language interpretation will be on screen during the broadcast of the proceedings.
“We will also have sign language interpreters on stage. The stadium has also adequate ramp access for wheelchairs,” Dlamini Zuma said.
Alcoholic beverages, drugs, firearms and weapons, bottles and cans will not be allowed in the stadium.