South Africans started voting in parliamentary and provincial elections on Wednesday, with queues seen winding from various polling stations.
The ruling African National Congress has won every parliamentary election since the end of white minority rule in 1994, and opinion polls predict it will again win a majority of the 400 seats in the National Assembly.
Analysts predict however its margin of victory will fall over corruption allegations against the ANC officials.
President Cyril Ramaphosa in a video message to South Africans on Tuesday declared today as a public holiday. Voting stations open at 7h00 and close at 21h00.
He urged South Africans to go out and vote “and exercise our hard won democratic right to vote”.
“I urge you to come out as early as possible today to cast your vote. Do not leave it to the last minute,” he said.