Zuma inaugurated in Pretoria

PRETORIA - South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has been sworn into office for a second term, following his party’s victory at the polls.

The African National Congress (ANC) won a commanding victory in the general election on May 7.

More than 4 000 guests and several heads of State attended the ceremony in Pretoria.

Neither the US or UK sent a representative but officials from Russia, China and India attended.

Zuma was officially elected for a second five-year term on Wednesday by the ANC-dominated parliament.

The expected formality of the re-election was disturbed only by MPs from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who turned up at parliament in red overalls and hardhats.

The EFF, led by former ANC member Julius Malema, said they dressed as maids and miners to show they intend to represent the interest of workers.

Once the celebrations are over, Zuma faces the tough tasks of rejuvenating South Africa’s economy.

South African media say yesterday’s inauguration ceremony was as much about celebrating Nelson Mandela, who died last year, and 20 years of democracy, as about officially sealing Zuma’s re-election.

Zuma took the oath of office after prayers opened the ceremony at 11am local time Several heads of State including Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan, and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni were present.

The US did not send a representative but a White House statement said President Barack Obama spoke to Zuma on Friday to congratulate him on his re-election.

The centrepiece of the event was a 90-minute cultural show, with performances from local musicians, dancers and a youth choir.

Members of the public descended on the Union Building in Pretoria, the site of the ceremony, to watch on large TV screens.


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