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South Africa's ruling ANC faces toughest election

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:58s - Published < > Embed
South Africa's ruling ANC faces toughest election

South Africa's ruling ANC faces toughest election

The African National Congress faces its toughest electoral test on Wednesday, seeking to reverse a slide in support from voters frustrated by rampant graft and racial inequalities a generation after it won power in South Africa’s first all-race poll.

Gracie Jerome reports.

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South Africa's ruling ANC faces toughest election

Voting is underway in South Africa where the African National Congress is facing its biggest ballot box challenge after more than two decades in power.

Wednesday's (May 8) parliamentary and provincial elections are the first since President Cyril Ramaphosa took power last year.

He's been seeking to reverse a slide in support from an electorate frustrated by corruption allegations, joblessness and lingering racial inequalities.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT AND ANC LEADER, CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, SAYING: "I just want us to work, work and implementing our policies and doing what is right by our people." Ramaphosa replaced the scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma, with a promise to root out endemic corruption within the party.

The ANC's rise to power under Nelson Mandela in 1994 marked the end of apartheid rule in South Africa.

But since a record high win in 2004 elections under President Thabo Mbeki, its popularity has fallen with every election.

Analysts say that's because of corruption allegations against government officials, demands from black citizens for a more equitable distribution of land - and a slowing economy with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

That's something the Mmusi Maimane - leader of the main opposition the Democratic Alliance - promised to tackle as he cast his vote in Soweto.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE LEADER, MMUSI MAIMANE, SAYING: 'Soweto to me represents in many ways the home of where the struggle is and now we're entering into a new struggle, a struggle for jobs for many South Africans and therefore I call upon the people of this country to come out in their numbers today.

It's a historic moment in our nation as we transition again." The ANC is also under pressure from the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters.

The most recent polls show the ANC is likely to win a majority of the National Assembly's 400 seats - but its margin of victory could narrow - particularly in major cities.

Results are expected in the coming days, but officials haven't yet said when the winner will be announced.




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