- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Zuma celebrates with a dance
- Date: 24th April 2009
- Summary: CHILD CARRIED SHOULDER HIGH
- Embargoed: 9th May 2009 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA4H4ZM7Q63XRK1PN7PI5ZJFBIJ
- Story Text: Jacob Zuma led thousands of supporters in victory celebrations after polls gave him a firm lead in the election.
Jacob Zuma led the celebrations in Johannesburg on Thursday (April 23) as polls predict he's almost certain to be named South Africa's next president.
Zuma, who danced and sang his trademark "Bring me my machine gun" anti-apartheid anthem, stressed the ANC was "not yet celebrating victory", although with more than half the votes counted, it was set for a resounding win.
The African National Congress had 66.7 percent, according to the latest results, suggesting that despite a reinvigorated opposition challenge it could recapture the two-thirds majority that gives it the power to shape laws and entrench its hold.
Zuma, a polygamist who taught himself to read, portrays himself as a champion of the poor, and for many voters the ANC's credentials from the fight against white minority rule still outweigh its failure to tackle crime, poverty and AIDS.
The Congress of the People (COPE) party, formed by ANC dissidents, had hoped to pose the first real challenge since the end of apartheid in 1994, but won 7.79 percent of votes counted.
The ANC's closest rival was the Democratic Alliance (DA), led by a white woman, with 16.22 percent.
The final result is not expected before Friday but there is little doubt the 67-year-old Zuma will become president only three weeks after managing to get prosecutors to drop an eight-year-old corruption case that had tainted his reputation.
Supporters cheered as Zuma, dressed in a red polo shirt and leather jacket, used a speech peppered with his native Zulu to play up the party's grassroots links and capitalise on his populist appeal.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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