>> Polls close, and counting starts. But is this the countdown for South Africa's African National Congress? Local elections on Wednesday widely seen as a referendum on the party that has ruled almost unchallenged since Apartheid ended. This tally will reveal whether it has lost control of key cities for the first time.
Anger runs high. One in four South Africans are unemployed, and a recession looms. President Jacob Zuma will be hoping that the scandals that have plagued his leadership won't derail it.>> The ANC is only an obstacle.>> Zuma's contender, the Democratic Alliance Party, historically mainly white, it has named a black leader to reach out to the rainbow nation.
It's on course to take the economic hub, Johannesburg, the capital Pretoria, and symbolic Nelson Mandela Bay, polls say. Zuma survived an impeachment vote in April. He'd ignored an order to pay back some of the $16 million of state funds he used to do up his private home.>> I think president Jacob Zuma's corruption scandals have angered many South Africans, particularly in large cities where there's better access to education and the private media.
So that's done a lot of damage to the ANC, but it's also a steady decline in standards of public service delivery, and in terms of the living standards that people expected at the end of Apartheid, just haven't been delivered on.>> This is the toughest election in the ANC's history, and it's a bellwether for national polls coming up in 2019.