Ruling ANC faces acid test as South Africa votes

Erika Holt
May 11, 2019

The ruling ANC is leading the May 8 elections in South Africa, the anti-apartheid party has over 56 percent of the national preference with almost 50 percent of ballots counted.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over from scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma as ANC leader in December 2017, is trying to restore faith in the governing party.

Opposition parties have leveled corruption allegations against the ANC leadership, which according to observers have dented its image.

"He has promised us jobs. At this point, we are very confident that we are going to win", he said.

"This is the first time that I am voting so I am happy to vote". Around 27 million South Africans were asked to choose the 400 deputies of the Parliament in Cape town as well as provincial representatives. "But if you need change, the EFF is the way to go".

"Lower black voter support is a big problem for the ANC", he explained.

South Africa was famous for its long lines of voters in the first post-apartheid election 25 years ago.

Mmusi Maimane, leader of the main opposition party Democratic Alliance, cast his vote in Dobsonville in Soweto.

After casting his ballot on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said the election was "heralding a new dawn. a period of renewal, a period of hope".

The DA's share of the national vote so far was down slightly from the 22 per cent it won in 2014, while the EFF gained from 6 per cent.

Under pressure from the far-left and more radical elements in the ANC, Mr Ramaphosa previous year launched a process to change the constitution to make explicit provision for land expropriation without compensation.

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Analysts say the 66-year-old lawyer and former labor union leader needs a decisive win to quell opposition in the faction-riven ANC to give him the clout to push through reforms needed to spur growth in Africa's most-industrialized economy.

The BBC's Andrew Harding in Johannesburg says the party's stance has forced the ANC to consider drastic measures to transfer more land, more quickly, into black hands, which has resulted in a pledge to conduct land expropriation without compensation.

"About 26.8 million voters were registered to cast their ballots but only an estimated 65 percent did so".

"We have given them 25 years but the poor are getting poorer and the rich richer", said voter Anmareth Preece, 28, a teacher.

But the achievements of the 1980s and 1990s resonate less with younger voters, and internal factional fighting has alienated many.

"He has to balance his free market proclivities with the fact that there are a large number of South Africans who feel left behind", Campbell said.

"I like this party with all of my heart", she said.

It wants to nationalise mines and banks, and played a key role in holding Zuma to account for spending state money on non-security upgrades to his private residence. Few such scenes were evident Wednesday, except in the poor Diepsloot township north of Johannesburg. But a sense of national apathy this year could be an ominous sign for the ANC.

He said he didn't support a re-run of the vote "at this stage". "They have won since 1994 and it will happen again".

Polling stations opened at 07 hours country-wide and are expected to close at 21 hours.

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