Polls close after South Africa elections

Julius Malema

South Africa, one of the continent's most industrialized nations, continues to suffer the scourge of corruption which was key in the move to oust former president Jacob Zuma ahead of the polls.

People line up to cast their vote at Moses Kotane primary in Braamfischerville on Wednesday (May 8 2019). "The way they run the state, mishandling state funds, they've lost their morals".

President Ramaphosa assumed office in February previous year, following the resignation of former President Jacob Zuma.

Opinion polls suggest the ANC will again win a majority of the 400 seats in the National Assembly, but analysts have predicted its margin of victory will fall, particularly in major cities.

While there is little doubt of an ANC victory at the national level, the governing party is at risk of losing control of South Africa's economic heartland, the province of Gauteng, where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located.

"We want to be set free from this poverty", said Moxolo Gqetywa, 48, an unemployed mother of two girls as she waited to vote in Soweto.

"We have to unite and stop this downward spiral". He said he believed the issues people are most anxious about are corruption and crime.

"This is a decisive moment in our country, in the history of South Africa, this is a moment when. we choose hope over despair", he told supporters at the ANC's final campaign rally.

Some polling stations around Johannesburg opened late or did not have voting materials, while in the Western Cape Province officials said ballot papers were running out at some locations.

Bapela said the smallest polling station is Macheleni Hall in the rural Eastern Cape.

During the 2019 general elections, a voter can, however, vote from any polling station.

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"We've made mistakes, but we are sorry about those mistakes, and we are saying our people should reinvest their confidence in us", the president said. "We're voting for a better future for ourselves, for our kids", said Eddie Nzoyi, one of the voters lined up.

Queues are building at polling stations across the country as voters cast their ballots in parliamentary and provincial elections.

Of the 47 opposition parties in the race, only the main opposition centrist Democratic Alliance (DA) and the radical-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are major players.

The ANC won 62 percent of the vote in 2014's parliamentary election, down from 2009 and far short of its best result, 69 percent in 2004 under President Thabo Mbeki.

In the most likely scenario, the ANC will need to form a coalition government with another party to get the votes needed to alter the constitution.

The economy grew just 0.8 per cent in 2018 and unemployment hovers around 27 per cent - and over 50 per cent among young people. The economy has repeatedly slipped into recession in recent years, growth has remained slow and the unemployment rate has remained stubbornly high.

The centre-right DA won 22 percent of the parliamentary vote in 2014.

But splits within the party and with allies could see support for the DA wane.

"It's not a beauty pageant, it's not a marriage, it's a contract - let's ensure we have jobs, let's make sure we can root out corruption", Maimane said after casting his ballot in the Dobsonville area of Soweto.

The EFF was created in 2013 by the firebrand ex-ANC youth leader Julius Malema, shortly after he was expelled from the ruling party.

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