Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s arrival elicited cheers and singing from guests waiting at the Union Buildings in Pretoria for Jacob Zuma to be inaugurated.
Accompanied by his wife Grace who wore a striking black and white dress and red hat, Mugabe waved and held his fist in the air.
It was not clear whether unity government prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai was present, but the embattled Arthur Mutambara, head of breakaway movement Movement for Democratic Change-Mutambara, who is facing internal rebellion amongst party loyalists had already arrived.
The department of foreign affairs explained this week that in terms of protocol, it was not clear whether a party leader as well as a president in a unity government could be invited.
Zimbabwe and the Southern African Development Community are currently negotiating a multi-billion dollar rescue package to help revive the country’s economy.
Lobby group Afriforum had put posters up saying Mugabe should not attend.
King Mswati of Swaziland, who the SA Communist Party had asked not come, was also present.
His arrival evoked cheers from the crowd. – Sapa