Zuma sweats as South Africa votes
The election campaign has been one of the closest fought since the country’s transition to democracy in 1994, with the dominant ANC for the first time at risk of losing control of key cities including Johannesburg, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth.
Even if opposition groups, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) headed by Julius Malema and the Democratic Alliance of Mmusi Maimane, fail to win outright control of key ANC constituencies, any significant loss of vote share would represent a blow to the ruling party, which has dominated the local and national political landscape for more than two decades.
Malema’s populist and youthful EFF is hoping to play kingmaker in several knife-edged municipalities.
Zuma has been plagued by criticism over the $16m spent on upgrades to his Nkandla residence, close ties to business and widespread discontent over to South Africa’s economic stagnation, where 2016 GDP growth is expected to be zero and around 25% of the population is unemployed.
South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission said it was satisfied with the high turnout of voters, with close to 27 million people having registered to vote, and no reports of violence at any of the 23,000 nationwide voting stations.
Voting stations close at 7pm on Wednesday and results will begin to be announced as soon as counting is done.