South Africa’s Presidential inauguration: Everything you need to know

 ·19 Jun 2024

On Wednesday, 19 June 2024, President-Elect Cyril Ramaphosa will be inaugurated as President of South Africa during a public swearing-in ceremony at the Union Buildings in Tshwane, Gauteng.

The swearing-in, which is conducted by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre, officially signifies the start of the seventh administration of democratic South Africa.

The inauguration, with its theme titled “30 Years of Democracy, Partnership and Growth,” follows Ramaphosa’s re-election as President by Parliament at its first sitting on Friday, 14 June 2024.

The inauguration will see the attendance of parliament members, dignitaries, foreign leaders, and anyone who wants to attend from the South Lawns of the Union Buildings.

A statement from the office of the Presidency on June 18 noted that it expects the attendance of at least 18 current and former heads of state and government, in addition to nine delegation heads. Additional confirmations are still being received.

“Countries that will be represented at a high level at the inauguration include the Kingdom of eSwatini and Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republics of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Angola and Tanzania; the Republic of Uganda, the People’s Republic of China, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the State of Palestine and the Republic of Cuba,” said the Presidency.

After the oath of office/affirmation, the newly sworn-in President will then deliver his inaugural address, which may give some hints about the direction that the newly formed administration may take.

The Oath of office that the President-elect will read. Source: Constitution of South Africa, Schedule 2: Oaths and Solemn Affirmations.

Will a Cabinet be announced?

After this, Ramaphosa can announce his highly-anticipated cabinet, including the Deputy President, consisting of Members of Parliament (MPs) from disparate political parties that have agreed to form part of the Government of National Unity (GNU).

The DA, IFP, Patriotic Alliance (PA) and other smaller parties supported Ramaphosa’s nomination and election as President in parliament, and are expected to be rewarded with cabinet appointments.

However, the announcement may not materialise on inauguration day (19 June). In 2019, Ramaphosa took four days to announce his Cabinet, while Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma announced theirs the day after their inaugurations.

According to Section 94 of the Constitution, the tenure of ministers and deputy ministers concludes with the swearing-in of a new president. Nonetheless, departments persist in their operations, guided by the annual performance and strategic plans previously presented to Parliament.

A Ramaphosa aide recently told Business Day that cabinet discussions between GNU partners were only really kickstarted on Tuesday, 18 June.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said on Monday, 17 June, that “…ideally, you would want cabinet to be announced as soon as possible after the inauguration… but this time consultations may take a lot longer.”

“The idea is still to try to do it as soon as possible. Cabinet has got to be appointed in terms of the priorities of the seventh administration,” said Magwenya.

Some other items on the agenda

For the ceremonial elements during the formal proceedings, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will perform:

  • A 21-gun salute;
  • A salute flight by the South African Air Force (SAAF);
  • Inspection of a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Battalion;
  • A Battalion march past; and
  • A massed fly past.

This is to show the Defence Force’s “allegiance to the Republic and the Commander-In-Chief,” said The Presidency.

The inauguration will also boast various local performers.

Closed off Roads

The Presidency has also advised that various roads in Tshwane will be closed before and during the inauguration. These include:

  • Gordon Road and Stanza Bopape Street; 
  • Jan Shoba and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Grosvenor and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Hilda and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Festival and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Athlone and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Hill and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Orient and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Balmoral Avenue and Stanza Bopape Street; 
  • Lisdogan Avenue and Stanza Bopape Street; 
  • Farenden and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • East Avenue and Stanza Bopape Street; 
  • Beckett and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Pine and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Blackwood and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Johan and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Wessels and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Madiba and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Leyds/Zeederberg and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Hamilton and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Steve Biko and Stanza Bopape streets; 
  • Dumbarton Road and Stanza Bopape Street;
  • Dumbarton Road and Harcourt Street; 
  • Dumbarton Road and Nassau Street; 
  • Madiba Street and Government Avenue; 
  • Edmond Street and Government Avenue; 
  • Balmoral and Government Avenue; 
  • Tom Jenkins Drive and Soutpansberg Road; 
  • Tom Jenkins Drive and Russell Street; 
  • Tom Jenkins Drive next to Government House; 
  • East and Government Avenue;
  • Beckett Street and Government Avenue; 
  • Pine Street and Government Avenue; 
  • Blackwood Street and Government Avenue; 
  • North Street; 
  • Soutpansberg Road; 
  • Van Der Merwe Street; and 
  • Nuffield Street. 

Read: South Africa’s President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker elected in GNU clean sweep

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