Foreign heads of state to attend Zuma's inauguration

Foreign dignitaries attending President Jacob Zuma's inauguration include heads of state and government, deputy heads, and former heads, the international relations department said on Friday.

"International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the countries attending the inauguration will also be celebrating with South Africa as the country marks 20 years of freedom and democracy," spokesman Clayson Monyela said in a statement.

Dignitaries from around 47 countries were expected at Saturday's inauguration ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. These were:

  • Algeria Speaker of the Council of the Nation Abdelkader Bensalah;
  • Angola Vice President Manuel Vicente;
  • Benin President Yayi Boni;
  • Botswana President Ian Khama;
  • Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré;
  • Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza;
  • Cameroon President Paul Biya;
  • Cape Verde;
  • Chad President Idriss Déby;
  • Congo (Brazzaville) President Denis Sassou N'Guesso;
  • Cuba Vice President Salvador Valdes Mesa;
  • Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila;
  • Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo;
  • Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn;
  • Gabon Vice President Guy Nzouba-Ndama;
  • Gambia;
  • Ghana President John Dramani Mahama;
  • Guinea President Alpha Condé;
  • Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta;
  • Lesotho King Letsie III;
  • Liberia Vice President Joseph Boakai;
  • Libya;
  • Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina;
  • Malawi;
  • Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta;
  • Mauritania;
  • Mauritius President Kailash Purryag;
  • Mozambique President Armando Guebuza;
  • Namibia Prime Minister Hage Geingob;
  • Nicaragua Vice President Moisés Omar Halleslevens Acevedo;
  • Niger Prime Minister Brigi Rafini;
  • Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan;
  • Rwanda Prime Minister Pierre Habumuremyi;
  • Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic President Mohamed Abdelaziz;
  • Sao Tome and Principe;
  • Sierra Leone;
  • South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit;
  • Sudan first Vice President Bakri Hassan Salih;
  • Swaziland King Mswati III;
  • Seychelles President James Michel and Vice President Danny Faure;
  • Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete;
  • Togo President Faure Gnassingbé;
  • Tunisia;
  • Uganda President Yoweri Museveni;
  • Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe;
  • Zambia Deputy President Guy Scott; and
  • Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud;
Seven former heads of state and government were expected to attend.

They were: Former Namibian president Sam Nujoma; former Tanzanian prime minister Salim Ahmed Salim and former president Benjamin Mkapa; former Botswana president Festus Mogae; former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda; former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano; and former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar.

Monyela said African Union commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is Zuma's ex-wife, would attend the inauguration, as well as United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

There would also be representatives from the BRICS countries. They were: Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer; Indian outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; Chinese Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liguo; and Russian chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly Sergey Naryshkin.

BRICS is a trade grouping comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane on Friday said 4500 invited guests would be seated in the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre at the Union Buildings in Pretoria for the inauguration, while 20,000 people would be accommodated on the south lawns.

Fourteen eminent persons and 118 foreign ambassadors who live in South Africa would also attend the ceremony.

Among the special guests were also South African royalty, he said. - Sapa