The people of South Africa have begun voting to choose members of the national parliament as well as local assemblies across the country.
Wednesday’s general election is the sixth democratic exercise of its kind since the end of apartheid in 1994.
The governing African National Congress (ANC) faces the biggest challenge yet to its power as many voters hold the former liberation movement responsible for the corruption, faltering economy and delay in land reform of the last twenty-five years.
The centrist Democratic Alliance (DA) and radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are providing the main challenges to the ANC.
The two main opposition parties are expected to benefit significantly from the ANC’s eroding popularity among South Africans.
They have also won more public support for their plans to bring down the country’s unemployment rate which currently stands at 27 percent.
However, President Cyril Ramaphosa has insisted that the ANC is best-placed to tackle corruption and the lingering inequalities between white and black South Africans.
Land ownership has remained the major issue of contension for decades, as the apartheid system handed most land to the white minority.
The EFF promises to change the status quo wherein the white minority still controls disproportionately more land than the black majority.
In an attempt to retake the initiative, the ANC has pledged land expropriation without compensation for its white owners.
For its part, the main opposition DA does not support expropriation, and instead promises to prioritise land reform in the budget.
Other election issues include discontent over poor basic services such as water, housing and electricity as well as anger over violent crime.