Former president Nelson Mandela votes in South Africa's election as the ANC faces its stiffest challenge since taking power.
South Africans queue to vote in their fourth national election since the end of apartheid.
And this election is expected to the pose the toughest challenge to the ruling ANC party since defeating white minority rule in 1994.
Nelson Mandela led it to power back in those heady days to become South Africa's first democratically-elected president.
Now aged 91, and increasingly frail, he cast his vote in front of a crowd of supporters -- who like most people out here -- believe the ANC are heading for their fourth straight win.
ANC leader Jacob Zuma placed his vote at a polling station near his birthplace but refused to be drawn into a prediction.
Facing an unprecedented challenge from voters disenchanted over poverty, corruption and crime he faces the most competitive election so far.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) AFRICA NATIONAL CONGRESS PRESIDENT, JACOB ZUMA SAYING:
"No I can only give an account of how the campaigning went. So far as the voting and what is happening at the moment, I don't have that information, but we just have a big hope that we will succeed. I don't want to make that statement at the moment, I am sure I will make the statement when they have voted."
The former wife of Nelson Mandela - Winnie voted in Soweto.
She stands to get a senior post in government if the ANC wins.
Meanwhile Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu cast his ballot saying voters were now questioning the conduct of the ANC.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS DESMOND TUTU, SAYING:
"I feel good but as I say, I mean, it isn't like the previous elections. And I think that is true of so very many people who are having to ask many questions - but that is healthy for the democracy."
The first credible opposition to the ANC came in the shape of a party called COPE.
Its Presidential Candidate said he wanted to tackle poverty and corruption.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) COPE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, MVUME DANDALA, SAYING:
"The first one is that we are going to attack poverty in a very deliberate way in this country. Secondly we are going to attack crime in a very determined way and thirdly, corruption is very high on our agenda list. "
While the ANC is expected to win, a stronger opposition means it could lose the two thirds majority which has given it so much power so far.
Penny Tweedie, Reuters.
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