South Africans are voting in local government elections which could become a referendum on President Jacob Zuma's scandal-plagued leadership and on an economy forecast to stagnate this year. Duarte Garrido reports.
A vote that could reshape the country. As South Africans head to the polls on Wednesday, the nation braces for its fifth local elections since the end of Apartheid. But with unemployment at 27%, and the threat of a recession looming, the outcome will be seen as a referendum on the ruling ANC, and President Zuma's scandal-plagued leadership. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE LEADER, MMUSI MAIMANE, SAYING: "We are here to say the ANC is only an obstacle." This is Mr Zuma's main adversary. The Democratic Alliance hoping to take key cities in Wednesday's poll. The economic hub of Johannesburg, the capital Pretoria, and the iconic Nelson Mandela Bay could all fall to the opposition according to recent polls. The ANC has been virtually unchallenged for 22 years, seven years with Jacob Zuma at the helm. Last month, the country's treasury recommended Mr Zuma pay back nearly 400,000 pounds to the government for upgrades made to his private home. On top of the 23 MILLION he already owes the taxpayers for its first remodeling. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, JOE BROCK SAYING: "President Zuma's corruption scandals have angered many in South Africa, especially in big cities where there's better access to education and the private media, but it's also a steady decline in standards of public service delivery and the living standards that people expected at the end of apartheid just haven't been delivered on." But the ANC is still the party of Nelson Mandela and his anti apartheid struggle - And is sure to capitalise on improvements made since.