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Independent AfricaSouth Africa releases first election result

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South Africa releases first election result

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The initial results have been released for what are considered South Africa’s most contested elections since the African National Congress (ANC) took power three decades ago.

With approximately 14% of voting districts counted, the ANC is leading with 43%, followed by the DA at 26%. The radical EFF and former President Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MK Party) are both at around 8%.

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Final results are anticipated over the weekend. Opinion polls indicate that the ANC might lose its parliamentary majority for the first time in 30 years, potentially leading to a coalition government.

The ANC has seen a decline in support due to widespread discontent over corruption, crime, and unemployment. However, it is still too early to determine the final outcome.

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Wednesday’s election featured long queues of voters at polling stations well into the night. An electoral official in Johannesburg told the BBC that the lines were reminiscent of the historic 1994 election, when black South Africans could vote for the first time, leading to Nelson Mandela’s presidency.

Thousands of people were still waiting to vote when polls officially closed at 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT), but the electoral commission assured that everyone in line would be able to cast their ballots.

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Sifiso Buthelezi, who voted at Johannesburg’s Joubert Park, the largest polling station in South Africa, told the BBC, “Freedom is great but we need to tackle corruption.”

The desire for change has been a common theme, particularly among younger voters. Ayanda Hlekwane, one of South Africa’s “born-free” generation, born after 1994, said that despite holding three degrees, he remains unemployed.

“I’m working on my PhD proposal so that I go back to study in case I don’t get a job,” he tells the BBC in Durban.

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