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Mandela votes at home in local South Africa polls

South Africa’s aged ex-president Nelson Mandela voted at his home Monday for this week’s local elections, the voting authority announced, in a special arrangement for the infirm.

The iconic 92-year-old anti-apartheid hero, South Africa’s first black president, is under home-based care after being hospitalised for two days in January for an acute respiratory infection.

“He has voted. He was looking forward to it so much,” Independent Electoral Commission chairwoman Brigalia Bam told radio 702.

“Amazingly enough, the presiding officer was trying to help, and he (Mandela) said, ‘No, no, no. I’m fine. I don’t need any help’.”

The country votes on Wednesday in local elections in which basic public services have become a hot issue, with frustration towards the ruling African National Congress building over inadequate power, water and housing.

The ANC, which has dominated South African politics since the end of apartheid in 1994, is nonetheless expected to sweep the elections.

Mandela has not been seen in public since he was discharged from hospital but information released in February said he was in stable condition.

Monday’s special vote is reserved for the “physically infirm or disabled” and people performing critical services like the police, the commission said.

Mandela was elected the country’s first black president in South Africa’s first all-race vote in 1994 and served one term before stepping down in 1999.