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In South Africa, crocodiles cause voting delay

A crocodile-infested river delays opening of a polling station in what analysts say is South Africa's most hotly contested election since the first free vote in 1994.

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A crocodile-infested river delayed the opening of a voting station near the Olifants River in Limpopo, South Africa, election officials said. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

A crocodile-infested river delayed the opening of a polling station in South Africa during influential local elections Wednesday.

Limpopo province's electoral officer Nkaro Mateta said that a polling station opened two hours late because elections officials could not cross the crocodile-infested Olifants River to reach voters, the South African Press Association reports.

They had to wait for an army vehicle to take them across to set up the station at a primary school in the town of Lebowakgomo. Mateta said a normal 4x4 could not cross the river, so the army was called in to assist and provide transport to the officials.

"We needed a specialized car because there are crocodiles in the river," Mateta said, SAPA reports.

These local elections are one of the most hotly contested campaigns since the first free vote was held in South Africa in 1994. Analysts say they are a key test for the ruling African National Congress party, which faces challenges in some regions from the opposition Democratic Alliance.

The Democratic Alliance party, known as the DA, runs the tourist hotspot of Cape Town and is led by Helen Zille, a white woman with roots in the anti-apartheid movement.

Zuma has told voters that a vote for the opposition would be one for the devil, and that they risked angering their ancestors unless they chose his party.

The provision of basic services, including water, electricity and housing, has been among the main issues during this campaign. Some voters are frustrated by the lack of change in their living conditions after 17 years of ANC rule.

The DA is aiming to win ground in South Africa’s metropolitan areas, including around the key city of Port Elizabeth, but the ANC is still expected to come out on top.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/110518/south-africa-johannesburg-local-election-crocodiles-voters