This election has been billed as the biggest and most important since the end of apartheid and not without reason. Firstly, there is now a credible national opposition party1 in the form of the COPE (congress of the people) which is made up of disaffected ANC party members. Secondly, the most likely winner and therefore next president of the republic is Jacob Zuma or JZ as he's known. Zuma has been dogged by allegations of corruption for a few years now and just a week or so before the polls opened he finally succeeded in having the charges thrown out. However the whiff of corruption seems to be lingering. Zuma also quite famously declared during his rape trial that he couldn't get AIDS from the alleged victim who was HIV+ as he'd had a shower immediately after having unprotected sex with her. That from a man who was once in charge of the national HIV strategy.
One thing is certain in thee elections, apathy has not won the day. In fact, from what we've observed the turnouts are massive and people are keen to express their views. The photo above shows one of many long queues of people waiting to cast their votes. What will be interesting is to see whether the high turnout works in favour of the govt or the opposition.
More photos can be seen on the BBC News website:
In pictures: South Africa votes
Your pictures: South Africa at the polls
1The DA (Democratic Alliance) have been the main opposition for some years now but they’re main powerbase is here in the Western Cape. Outside of the Cape they’re not much of a force and they are largely perceived as the party of whites and coloureds. This is unfair but perceptions are what they are. Zuma is perceived as being corrupt.