Voting in presidential and parliamentary elections officially ended at 21.00 local time although election officials said earlier in the day that anyone already in line to vote at that point would be allowed to cast their ballot. Polling was characterised by what appeared to be a massive turnout with long queues reported at many polling stations across the country. Voters braved cold weather and rain in some places to have their say in what looked set to be the most exciting electoral race since the advent of multi-party democracy in South Africa 15 years ago. Key figures in South Africa including a very frail-looking Nelson Mandela, Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu and African National Congress leader and presidential frontrunner Jacob Zuma were all caught on camera as they cast their ballots to great applause.

Local media reported complaints of shortages of ballot papers and ballot boxes in some areas, with Helen Zille, leader of the official opposition party Democratic Alliance threatening to sue the independent election commission (IEC), the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reports.

So far there have been no reports of serious incidents of violence.

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