Ruling party's majority at stake in South African general election

People in South Africa are casting their votes in a general election with the governing party's parliamentary majority at stake.

Voting began on Wednesday. South Africa holds a general election once every five years. In the country's largest city of Johannesburg, many people lined up in front of a polling station to cast their votes for the party they support.

In 1994, South Africa abolished apartheid, a now defunct system of segregation and discrimination against the nonwhite majority under white-minority rule.

Democratic elections have since been held in the country, and the African National Congress, or ANC, has been in power for 30 years.

But observers say corruption is widespread in government organizations under the ANC's long-term dominance. They say maintenance and management of basic infrastructure are not properly conducted, resulting in frequent power cuts and stoppages in water supplies.

The South African economy has been stagnant, with high unemployment and surging prices.

The country also faces worsening security as murders and other heinous crimes have been rampant.

Local media report the view that the votes the ANC gains in the election may slip below 50 percent for the first time in 30 years and the party may lose its parliamentary majority.

The election is seen as an important race that may sway the future of South Africa, a major member country among emerging and developing nations, collectively known as the Global South.

Polling stations are set to close at 9 p.m. local time on Wednesday. Vote counting is expected to take several days.