News Africa

Saturday 23 August 2014

First 'Born Free' South Africans vote

Ed Cropley, Johannesburg

Published 08/05/2014 | 02:30

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A woman casts her ballot in Johannesburg's Alexandra township. South Africans voted in the first "Born Free" election on Wednesday, although polls suggest the allure of the ruling African National Congress as the conqueror of apartheid will prevail even among those with no memory of white-minority rule. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
A woman casts her ballot in Johannesburg's Alexandra township. South Africans voted in the first "Born Free" election on Wednesday, although polls suggest the allure of the ruling African National Congress as the conqueror of apartheid will prevail even among those with no memory of white-minority rule. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

South Africans have voted in the first "Born Free" election, with the image of the ruling African National Congress as conqueror of apartheid likely to appeal even to those with no memory of white-minority rule.

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"It is great voting for the first time. Now I have a say in the country's election and what is happening. It is something new in my life," said 18-year-old Mawande Nkoyi a so-called post-apartheid "Born Free" – in the Cape Town township of Langa.

Chief election commissioner Pansy Tlakula said turnout was "extremely high" but voting was proceeding smoothly at all the 22,263 polling stations.

A firm idea of the outcome should emerge by this afternoon although there is little doubt about the overall result. Polls put ANC support near 65pc, only a shade lower than the 65.9pc it won in the 2009 election that brought President Jacob Zuma to power.

The ANC's enduring popularity has surprised analysts who had said the party could suffer as its glorious past recedes into history and voters focus instead on the sluggish economic growth and slew of scandals that have typified Zuma's first term.

Africa's most sophisticated economy has struggled to recover from a 2009 recession – its first since 1994 – and the ANC's efforts to stimulate growth and tackle 25pc unemployment have been hampered by powerful unions.

Reuters

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