Johannesburg - Police and the presidential guard unit had their hands full trying to control the crowds that could not contain their excitement at seeing President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of his vote in Chiawelo.
People screamed in pain and others in excitement as everyone pushed forward to catch a glimpse of the smiling and waving Ramaphosa.
A human chain that had been formed disintegrated as the people were pushed out of position when excitement peaked.
Ramaphosa, who was voting at Hitekani Primary School in Chiawelo, was accompanied by his wife Dr Tshepo Motsepe.
Ramaphosa started at the ANC tent that was outside the voting station before going into the school yard to cast his vote. As he walked in, people kept pushing and shoving although only a limited number of people were allowed inside.
Things later got out of control as everyone, including young children, accessed the school yard, making the police and presidential guard's work even more difficult as they battled to control the crowds.
ANC members, who had also got into the yard, started chanting "ANC, ANC, ANC" "Phakama Ramaphosa" while EFF supporters, who were also inside the yard started chanting: "EFF, EFF, EFF".
Video: Loyiso Ndima
Ramaphosa said even 25 years later there was still excitement in casting his vote. "We hope that the outcome will be in line with our people’s wishes,” he said when he addressed the media after voting.
Ramaphosa promised South Africans change after the elections, saying the ANC knows its mistakes and apologises for them.
”We are sorry about the mistakes we have made. Only those who don’t do anything don’t make mistakes,” he said.
Ramaphosa also undertook to implement the recommendations of the various commissions of inquiry.
”After the commission, recommendations are going to be made we will deal with the recommendations,” he said.
Ramaphosa also promised to root out corruption."What we are saying is never and never again must South Africa go through what we have gone through where there are thieves, where there is malfeasance,” he said, adding that the ANC had learnt its lesson.
Ramaphosa continued: “Those with eyes and ears can see that change is happening. The glass is now half full."
He said the next administration will focus on growing the country’s economy and attract investments.
”After this election we want investors to look at South Africa differently,” Ramaphosa said.
While many people were happy that they caught a glimpse of the president, Gladys Tenyane, 74, and Norence Oliphant, 69, were disappointed as they had missed him.
The two cast their votes early in the morning and went back to the voting station after hearing that Ramaphosa would be arriving soon.
Tenyane said being short proved a disadvantage as tall people got to see Ramaphosa while she couldn't.
"We were inside the ANC tent that he also went to but we could not see him," she said.
Oliphant said she was hurt that she had missed Ramaphosa.
After voting, she had rushed home to quickly drink tea to warm herself before going back to the voting station to see Ramaphosa.
"My children asked me where I was going as it was very cold but I wanted to see Ramaphosa. Unfortunately people were pushing us and my foot was even injured as I hit a brick.
"If I had an opportunity to speak to Ramaphosa, I would ask him when he would be giving us a raise on our pension. The EFF promised to double our pension but I'm sticking with the ANC because I've always been a member. I can't turn my back on them."
Video by Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA
The Star and Political Bureau