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Jacob Zuma sworn in as president

The president swore to protect the Republic and serve the nation.

The president swore to protect the Republic and serve the nation. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - President Jacob Zuma has been sworn in as president of the Republic of South Africa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng presided over the inauguration ceremony before heads of state, dignitaries and royalty.

The president swore to protect the Republic and serve the nation.

President Jacob Zuma with his wife Sizakele Khumalo at the presidential inauguration at the Union Buildings. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

Thereafter, his praise singer took to the stage.

The president was then given a 21-gun salute and there was a flyby of helicopters and planes, which included the Gripen fighter jet.

Aircraft organised themselves into a '20' formation to celebrate two decades of democracy in South Africa.

The president thanked South Africa for electing him for a second term.

"I am greatly honoured to stand before you today to accept the mandate bestowed upon us by millions of people."

He said it would be his honour to lead this great nation for the next five years.

"I accept this responsibility and privilege with great humility given the history of our country and where we have come from as a nation. Ours is a nation that has produced generations of selfless freedom fighters who made untold sacrifices so that we could live in a country that is free of racial discrimination."

President Zuma said today marked the beginning of a phase of radical social and economic transformation in South Africa.

He said the state must play a bigger role in driving the country's economic growth and more must be done to transfer ownership of the economy.

Zuma said over the next five years, economic transformation would take centre stage and his administration would focus on areas such as employment equity and broad-based black economic empowerment.

He also said the country would be failing leaders such as former president Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Bram Fischer if transformation did not take place.

More than 40 heads of state and government, VIPs, celebrities and royalty attended the inauguration as well as thousands of ordinary South Africans.

Guests included about 47 representatives of foreign countries, including more than 20 presidents and former presidents.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: GCIS.

TV presenter Minnie Dlamini. Picture: GCIS.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane. Picture: GCIS.

Musicians Zakes Batwini and Donald. Picture: GCIS.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was greeted by calls and shouts of "Bring our girls back!" in reference to the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe also received thunderous applause on his arrival.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. Picture: GCIS.

THE SOUTH LAWNS

Hundreds of ordinary South Africans gathered on the south lawns of the Union Buildings to watch proceedings, with many dancing and singing for the president.

The crowds were served breakfast packs, which included a South African flag.

Seventy-two-year old Josephine Moyoba from Kimberley told Eyewitness News black people in particular needed to celebrate the presidential inauguration with joy and appreciate the successes the country has had over the last 20 years.

"We never ever thought we would be free. After what happened to us in the past, we are very, very happy. It just shows that when we stand together and fight we achieve many things in life."

Moyoba's excitement and energy was palpable as she danced and sang along with the songs being performed.

Another woman from Kimberley, Maggie Seboka, said although living conditions in the country had improved since the dawn of democracy, lots more needed to be done to improve people's lives and she believed Zuma was the right man to take South Africa forward.