red carpet day

Pertunia Ratsatsi

Pertunia Ratsatsi

Tomorrow the city of Tshwane will present a grand parade of foreign heads of state at the R75million inauguration of president-elect Jacob Zuma.

As the host, the presidency will roll out the red carpet for about 5000-strong high profile guests expected to witness the president elect's inauguration at the Union Building's 9000-capacity amphitheatre.

Yesterday Foreign Affairs said 29 heads of state have confirmed they will attend the event. It said seven countries will be represented by deputy presidents and 56 countries will be represented by either their foreign affairs ministers or speakers of parliament.

The European Union Commission will be represented by Baroness Catherine Ashton

It is estimated that 800 international journalists will capture the event. About 30000 people are expected gather at the Union Building where they will be entertained by various top artists.

As commander-in-chief of the army, Zuma will be accompanied by a guard of honour from the SANDF as he proceeds to the VIP podium in the amphitheatre.

The inauguration ceremony is expected to start at 11am with Zuma making his presidential address at midday.

Yesterday the amphitheatre was a hub of activity with workers making the final touches. Rehearsals by police, soldiers and other officials were going on when the media arrived in the morning.

"We are confident everything that needs to be done, is done," Foreign Affairs director general Ayanda Ntsaluba told the media yesterday.

The theme of the event is "Together celebrating a vibrant democracy and building a better life for all".

lForeign Affairs has confirmed that Sudanese president Al Bashir will not attend.

The International Court of Justice has issued a warrant of arrest for Al Bashir relating to war crimes in his country's Darfur region.

lForeign Affairs has announced there would be no extra security provided for Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. Mugabe is expected to attend the ceremony together with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Yesterday members of the AfriForum protested at the Union Buildings, holding posters reading "Mugabe go Home".

lThe SACP has come out against the invitation of Swaziland monarch King Mswati 111, saying he undermined democracy in his own country.