A large crowd stood in the rain, Church Square, Pretoria to greet the first President of the new South African Republic, May 31, after he was sworn into office.
A large crowd stood in the rain, Church Square, Pretoria to greet the first President of the new South African Republic, May 31, after he was sworn into office. After the inauguration ceremony President Charles Swart was introduced to the people by Prime Minister Verwoerd.
Thousands of people arrived in the South African capital, May 30, to take part in the celebrations at midnight when the new Republic came into being. While the pro-Republic South Africans celebrated, others - mainly English speaking - gathered to toast Queen Elizabeth for the last time.
Mr. Swart was escorted by a troop of mounted police when he drove in an open car to Church Square. He was alone as his wife did not attend the ceremony due to ill health. At the Groot Kerk, or Great Church, Mr. Swart pledged himself to the service of the Republic in both English and Afrikaans.
When the ceremony was over the President walked to a platform outside the church to address the nation. Before he spoke the National Anthem was played by massed military bands. In his address President Swart paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth for her courtesy, friendliness and graciousness". He said South Africa sought peace and friendship. The President warned that his country claimed the right to settle her domestic policies without interference from any quarter.
A critical welcome was given to the new Republic soon after it was born by three other African states. The United Arab Republic broke off diplomatic relations. Ghana has followed the U.A.R. lead and Liberia has ordered a political and commercial boycott.