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Rivals hold rallies as polling day approaches in South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed supporters in Ellis Park while a rival event was held in Soweto.

African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa greets supporters as he arrive at the Ellis Park stadium for the final election rally (Jerome Delay/AP)
African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa greets supporters as he arrive at the Ellis Park stadium for the final election rally (Jerome Delay/AP)

Campaigning for South Africa’s upcoming election has reached a climax with mass rallies by the ruling party and one of its most potent challengers.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa promised more jobs and economic growth at the rally for the African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela which has governed the country since the end of apartheid in 1994.

“Our young people want jobs and they want them now,” said Mr Ramaphosa, who promised to create new employment.

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Supporters of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party attend their election rally at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, South Africa (Themba Hadebe/AP)

“We know what needs to be done to increase jobs, to grow the economy.”

Mr Ramaphosa was at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park rugby stadium before thousands of ANC supporters wearing bright yellow T-shirts.

On the other side of Johannesburg, in Soweto, the city’s largest black township, thousands gathered for a competing rally by the Economic Freedom Fighters, a populist, leftist party.

Firebrand leader Julius Malema, who split from the ANC, is set to address the rally, despite the death of his grandmother on Saturday.

Mr Malema has campaigned on vows to expropriate white-owned land without compensation and to nationalise the country’s mines.

South Africa votes on May 8.

PA

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