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South Africa - report

South Africa braves crocodiles and protests for local polls

AFP/ South African government/Elmond Jiyane
Text by: Jean-Jacques Cornish
2 min

South Africa’s local elections went ahead Wednesday with few problems. But there were delays in some polling stations opening – one because officials had to be ferried across a crocodile-infested river by army vehicles in Limpopo province, another where officials had to be lifted by helicopter to the top of a mountain.

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Public frustration at government corruption and poor provision of basic services were the main election issues.

Casting his ballot, President Jacob Zuma says his ruling African National Congress will nevertheless make some gains over the 65 per cent support it won five years ago.

Some voters in Johannesburg were allowed to cast their ballots after the 7pm deadline because the delivery of voting material was delayed earlier in the day.

Some polling stations in the commercial capital and Cape Town were open later to accommodate a last-minute rush.

Anyone in the queue when the polls close is permitted to vote.

Voting was peaceful around the country, although police had to deal with about 10 protest marches near polling stations. These are not permitted under election law.

Reporters focussed on Ficksburg in the Free State where Andries Tatane was killed by police last month during a demonstration against lack of government service delivery.

The first results started coming in hours after the polls close.

The Independent Electoral Commission says the final outcome is expected to be announced on Saturday.

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