Preparations are at an advanced stage for the historic Presidential Inauguration of South Africa’s sixth administration at the Loftus Versveld stadium in Pretoria.
The Inter Ministerial Committee on Presidential Inauguration says their choice to host the event at the stadium will cost over R100 million less and be more inclusive to the public.
Loftus Versveld stadium is famous for being the home ground for the Blue Bulls rugby franchise.
It is also the venue where high profile Premier Soccer League matches take place. The 1995 Rugby World Cup , the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup and the round of 16 games of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, are among the some of the big sporting events that have been hosted at the stadium.
It will be the first time in South African history that the Presidential Inauguration is hosted at Loftus Versveld stadium.
Hugo Kemp, from Loftus Versveld management, says, “It’s an absolute pleasure and privilege to host this event. We’ve had many major international events but this I think is the cherrie on top. It’s even bigger and better than the world cup, so we are just privileged to be part of this process and this great event.”
Government opted for the stadium instead of the Union Buildings to make the event inclusive and to cut costs.
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says, “The venue as you know is Loftus Versveld stadium instead of the Union Buildings and the choice of the venue was determined by a number of factors like the cost, because preparing the Amphitheater is more costly than hiring the stadium.”
The stadium has a capacity of over 50 000 seats, but will only accommodate 32 000 people and the 4500 invited guests.
Park and ride facilities will be at the Tshwane Events Centre for those driving themselves and accreditation will be at the local Affies School next to the stadium.
Phumla Williams from the GCIS says, “There are about 4500 dignitaries that have been invited formally, those 4500 have to get accreditation and that accreditation has been communicated to them. There is accreditation for the media, we have also issued an invitation to the members of the media to apply I think around April. Lastly there is what we call accreditation for the public that will be coming, using their cars those are supposed to use the shuttle service which will be moving from the Tshwane events centre. Members of the public will go through a process which also we call it accreditation but it is to clear them.”
It is estimated that government will spend R120 million for this year’s inaugurations celebrations.
“It’s not going to be much more than the R120 million and last time it was more than R240 million, but until you have the event, you can’t tell to the cent how much it has cost. The public was torn as to whether they will attend the inauguration,” says Dlamini-Zuma.
Streets near the stadium precinct will be closed and arrangements have been made with residents close to the stadium to also get accreditation.