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South Africa elections 2024: Can ANC overcome challenge from Zuma, DA, EFF and others? - BBC News South Africa elections 2024: Can ANC overcome challenge from Zuma, DA, EFF and others? - BBC News
(32 minutes later)
Farouk ChothiaFarouk Chothia
BBC News, JohannesburgBBC News, Johannesburg
For the first time, voters will receive three ballot papers - not two - when they enter a polling booth.
Polling stations have officially opened in South Africa but voting has not yet started at the biggest one - Joubert Park in downtown Johannesburg. The first ballot will have a list of parties competing for 200 parliamentary seats nationwide.
Election officials are frantically busy, putting up voting booths made of cardboard and taping ballot boxes together. The second ballot will list parties - and independents - in provinces vying for a further 200 parliamentary seats.
Because of the huge number of voters here, the polling station has been split into three voting booths with 20 to 30 people in each queue. This is the first time that this ballot has been introduced in order to give independents a chance to run for parliament, and to strengthen provincial representation in the law-making body.
First in one of the queues is Steve Khoza, wearing a tie and standing with a crutch. There is no direct election for the president - the new National Assembly chooses the president, who is normally the leader of the majority party.
He is a security guard who was attacked by robbers while on his way to work in 2011. The third ballot is for provincial legislatures - one for each of South Africa’s nine provinces.
Mr Khoza has come to the polling station straight from a night shift and is patiently waiting to cast his ballot. Voters in each province vote for their own parliament, called a legislature - and this time around they will be able to vote for independents, rather than only parties.
He won’t tell me who he’ll vote for but, not surprisingly, crime is at the top of his mind. Provinces have huge budgets, and are responsible for things like education and health, along with the national government.
He says the government must get to grips with it, and build a loyal and disciplined police force. This might all seem very complicated - if you want a better understanding of the electoral system it's worth reading this handy explainer by political scientist Dirk Kotze in The Conversation.
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