Champagne flowed on the streets of Johannesburg Thursday evening as South Africa's ruling African National Congress celebrated its expected victory in Wednesday's general elections with a mass street party, even as votes were still being counted.
ANC leader Jacob Zuma, clad in a black and yellow ANC leather jacket, was in festive mood as he took to a makeshift stage outside the party's headquarters in central Johannesburg to address supporters and entertain them with some dancing and a rendition of his trademark revolutionary song, "Awulethu Umshini Wami (Bring me my machine gun)".
"The people have spoken with their vote," the 67-year-old likely next president of South Africa told a cheering crowd of over 1,000 supporters in Zulu, as results tricked in showing the ruling party poised for resounding victory in the fourth democratic general elections.
"We're not yet celebrating victory," Zuma said but the two magnums of champagne that were popped by party top brass on either side of him and sprayed into the crowd said otherwise.
One of Zuma's allies, South African Communist Party (SACP), Blade Nzimande, joined him onstage with a bottle of champagne in his hand.
With over 10 million votes counted, more than half of estimated votes cast, the ANC had polled 66.7 percent, well ahead of the Democratic Alliance of Cape Town mayor Helen Zille, which had 16.2 percent, the Independent Electoral Commission announced.
A new party of ANC dissidents, the Congress of the People, was stuck at just under eight percent.
Over 23 million people out of a population of 48 million were registered to elect members to the 400-seat National Assembly and nine provincial legislatures. No figure for overall turnout was available a day after the end of voting, but predicted a turnout of up to 80 percent or around 18 million.