Jacob Zuma has says his party expects a “massive” turnout in South African elections to be held on Wednesday.

The African National Congress (ANC) leader encouraged supporters to make this the biggest turnout in the country’s history.

He said the emergence of the opposition Congress of the People (Cope) had “re-energised” the ANC.

These elections are the “most exciting” the ANC has had to fight since coming to power in 1994, he said.

The party split last year with disaffected members forming Cope.

Mr Zuma has also faced corruption charges which were dismissed by a court with just weeks to go before voting.

“There is no cloud above my head, there is not even a mist,” he told journalists in his final press briefing before polls open.

The ANC is widely expected to win by a big margin, which would lead to Mr Zuma being elected by the members of parliament.

Voter boost

This year more voters registered with the Independent Election Commission than before, raising the total number of eligible voters to more than 26 million.


  • 23m registered voters
  • 19,700 polling stations
  • 9,130 candidates – 3,511 female
  • 2,000 soldiers deployed
  • 4,000 local observers, 153 from abroad
  • Many of the new voters are young people who have little memory of the struggle to end white minority rule, which brought the ANC to power.

    Analysts say the emergence of Cope in November last year could have accounted for the boost in voter numbers.

    But polls have recorded Cope’s popularity falling since then.

    “As they emerged, people decided they weren’t what they thought,” political scientist Bob Mattes told the BBC.

    Cope has fielded a relatively unknown presidential candidate, former Bishop Mvume Dandala, who has struggled to make an impact on the public scene, analysts say.

    Around 200,000 ANC supporters filled several stadia on Sunday to see Mr Zuma address them via satellite link from a rally in Johannesburg’s Ellis Park.

    A Cope rally in Polokwane Limpopo province attracted around 5,000 supporters.


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