Ramaphosa's Economic Revamp at Stake as South Africa Votes

South Africans vote in general election; sixth poll since 1994

"It's a question of what is the distance between the big and small parties", Zuma, who was removed from office in February 2017 on corruption allegations, said.

In the hotly contested Gauteng province, only 55.83% of voting districts have been captured, where the ANC seems to be skating on thin ice by gaining 50.62% of the votes, the DA is at 27.27%, the EFF at 14.18%, the VF Plus at 3.82% and the IFP at 3.82%.

"It will be significantly more risky and hard for Ramaphosa to deal with his detractors within the ANC should the result fall below 55%".

Parliamentary and provincial elections happen every five years, with seats allocated according to a proportional representation system.

The ANC, which led the fight against apartheid, has governed the country since 1994.

Officials have not said when the final results will be announced.

The long-ruling African National Congress is expected to win the greatest number of votes, followed by the opposition Democratic Alliance and the upstart, far-left Economic Freedom Fighters party.

There are 48 parties to choose from - more than at any election since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

"We have the lowest voter registration among young people than we have ever had", South Africa-based social analyst Tessa Dooms told NPR.

The ANC achieved its best parliamentary election result in 2004 under former president Thabo Mbeki, when it won 69 percent of the vote.

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Although the 10,194 public schools re-open on Monday, a few Catholic schools will remain shut "until further notice". Speaking to IANS, the officer, who did not wish to be named, said: "We have no such information".

Full results are due on Saturday.

Polls closed in South Africa on Wednesday after nationwide elections nearly certain to keep the ruling ANC in power despite anger over corruption scandals, sluggish growth, and record unemployment.

The economy, Africa's most industrialized, grew an estimated 0.8 percent in 2018 after recovering from a recession in the first half of the year when a drought hit farming, although blackouts at power utility Eskom continue to drag on activity. The EFF is much closer to the ANC (hence majority blacks) in terms of policy and should easily overtake the DA whose origins and membership is largely white and elitist.

It's been a quarter of a century since South Africa became a democracy. "The party has done well especially after the doldrums we were in before the elections".

And many people did not even bother to register to vote, disenchanted by the ANC and the other main parties.

The BBC's Andrew Harding in Johannesburg says the party's stance has forced the ANC to consider drastic measures to transfer more land, more quickly, into black hands, which has resulted in a pledge to conduct land expropriation without compensation. But its support fell under Zuma, and it lost control of big cities like the commercial capital Johannesburg in local government elections in 2016.

Mr. Ramaphosa, a wealthy businessman and former union leader, is more popular than his party.

The country's young voters, who make up about 20% of the electorate, largely support the EFF, which is led by charismatic firebrand Julius Malema, who broke from the ANC six years ago.

As officials trudged through millions of votes on Thursday, election officials announced they would "urgently conduct" an audit into allegations that some citizens may have voted a few times, by removing the indelible ink voting officials put on every voter's thumb.

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