31-07-2016. The ANC top leadership Cyril Ramaphosa stood and danced along side president Jacob Zuma after the president of the ANC fineshed delivering his speech. Picture: Zwelizwe Ndlovu

Johannesburg - The campaign period for Wednesday's elections reached its climax in a cacophony of colour and noise on Sunday as the ANC and the EFF brought out thousands of supporters for their final rallies.

The ruling party, which found itself on the back foot at the start of the campaign after it failed to fill the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium at its manifesto launch in April, clawed back some public relations points with its Emirates Airline Park show.

Thousands clad in trademark ANC yellow packed the 62 000-capacity Ellis Park ground for the Siyanqoba (victory) rally.

Despite polls suggesting that the party faces the most serious threat to its power, especially in urban areas, party leaders and speakers were in a defiantly confident mood.

Echoing the party's main campaign song and slogan, Asinavalo ("No fear"), President Jacob Zuma told the crowd that the ANC had nothing to fear in the country's eight metropolitan areas.

The party currently governs seven of the metros, but is under severe pressure in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro following years of infighting and mismanagement.

Another popular theme for speakers at the rally was the official opposition DA, which has earned the ire of the ANC for using Nelson Mandela in an effort to appeal to black voters. This seemed to have pushed the ANC, and Zuma in particular, towards a more stridently race-based appeal to black voters.

Zuma repeatedly warned his mainly black audience against being "misled" by the DA into putting whites back into power.

The race-baiting has led to a curious municipal election campaign, where local government issues have received little to no attention from the main parties.

The DA held its last mass rally ahead of the elections on Saturday at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.

In Polokwane, Limpopo, the Peter Mokaba Stadium was awash with EFF red and shook with the youthful energy the new party has brought to the campaign, and to South African politics generally.

In typically fiery style, party president Julius Malema rounded on Zuma and his cabinet. He called Zuma, the man he once vowed he would die and even kill for, a "domkop", and even threatened to "expose" one cabinet minister "who pees himself when he's drunk".

In another sign of the election's detachment from reality, Malema promised to deliver free water, electricity and education to his supporters. This is in addition to the EFF's promise to seize land without compensation and hand it to poor rural communities.

None of those things can be delivered by a local municipality because of them fall under the ambit of the state.

South Africans go to the polls on Wednesday to elect new administrations for eight urban metropolitan and 249 district and local councils.

Election Bureau