The ruling party, African National Congress (ANC) has been losing support since 2004 having garnered 69.69 per cent and dropped by 3.79 per cent points to 65.9 per cent in 2009.
(WATCH VIDEO: ANC not to come first in every province: investec)
“Elections are important for markets, we expect smooth operations, free and fair elections despite some scandals coming from IEC [Independent Electoral Commission] officials,” Peter Attard Montalto, an emerging markets economist at Nomura told CNBC Africa.
“We should watch for the possibility like in 2009 of early ANC huge drops and big Democratic Alliance gains as a result of early count of urban votes. The markets should be cautious and not get too excited until all results are out.”
“Under a stronger ANC, investors will see increasing chances of turmoil as the party attempts to delve into economic contradictions with macro-economic policies in trying to combat the emergence of a possible new Numsa [National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa]-led party. This likely environment might see the introduction of new unfriendly investor policies coming into effect.”
A lower turnout for ANC might act as a wakeup call to the 102 year old party.
“A lower turnout will make ANC to take radical decisions on labour policies and move toward job creation as to win back support going into 2019,” he added.
At the time of publication, leading political figures such as president Jacob Zuma, his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe, Cyril Ramaphosa-ANC’s deputy president and Helen Zille the Democratic Alliance leader had cast their votes.
(READ MORE: S.Africa to hold general elections on May 7)
The Economic Freedom Fighters firebrand leader, Julius Malema, was also expected to cast his vote this morning in his home town of Polokwane.
This election will among others be determined by dynamics such as the unpopular e-tolls in Gauteng, the ‘Nkandla gate’ and the emergence of Economic Freedom Fighters.
BY TRUST MATSILELE