SA in post-Nelson Mandela elections

JOHANNESBURG - South Africans are voting in general elections as the country marks 20 years since the end of white-minority rule.

The African National Congress (ANC) is tipped to win, returning President Jacob Zuma for a second five-year term.

These are the first elections since the death in December of Nelson Mandela, the country's first black president.

Correspondents say voting has begun smoothly with long queues and there is an air of excitement, especially amongst first-time voters.

Those born after the end of apartheid in 1994 are casting their first national ballots, although only a third of those entitled to do so have registered to vote.

Correspondents say police have been deployed to areas where there have been scene of violent protests and political tensions.

The ANC is expected to win more than 60% of the vote, although opinion polls show there is disaffection with the country's leadership.

But it is not clear whether this will translate into a significant swing for the opposition.

The ANC's main challenger is the Democratic Alliance (DA), the liberal pro-business party led by anti-apartheid activist Helen Zille, which is trying to make inroads into the black electorate.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), launched last year by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, hopes to get its first parliamentary seats with its campaign for nationalising the mines and the forced redistribution of farmland.

The BBC's Milton Nkosi at a polling station in Soweto says voters have been walking in and out steadily making their mark.

One voter there told the BBC: "I don't see any party that can defeat the ANC. They fought for more than a hundred years... fought for this liberty and so no-one will turn their backs on them."

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