South Africa election: ANC leads as votes counted
Votes are being counted in South Africa’s election, with President Cyril Ramaphosa hoping to prevent a slide in support for the governing African National Congress (ANC).
With results declared in some 70% of districts, it has won about 57% of the ballot, well ahead of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on 22%.
The ANC took 62% at the last general election in 2014.
Anger over the economy and corruption may have eroded its appeal.
The radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), is in third place with 10%, based onthe official early results.
Turnout was about 65% in the twin parliamentary and provincial elections – a drop compared to the 73% registered five years ago.
Some six million young people didn’t register to vote.
Full results are due on Saturday.
The president’s apology
Casting his vote in the country’s sixth democratic national election since apartheid ended 25 years ago, President Ramaphosa acknowledged the “rampant corruption” of recent years.
“We have made mistakes but we have been sorry about those mistakes and we are saying our people should reinvest their confidence in us,” he said.
“Corruption got into the way, patronage got into the way and not focusing on the needs of our people got in the way.”
The ANC, which led the fight against apartheid, has governed the country since 1994.
Why has the ANC lost support?
Young people queuing to vote spoke of their difficulties in finding jobs, with unemployment at 27%.
One young voter said her future employment prospects were on her mind. “I don’t feel confident about getting the job I want,” she said.
“I’m a member of the ANC but I didn’t vote for them this time,” construction worker Thabo Makhene told Reuters news agency. “They need to catch a wake-up. The way they run the state, mishandling state funds, they’ve lost their morals.”
However, many voters stayed loyal to the ANC.