The governing African National Congress (ANC) is expected to be returned to office in South Africa’s parliamentary election, but with a reduced majority.
With almost all of district results declared, the ANC has won 58% of the ballot, well ahead of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on 21%.
The ANC, which has been in power since 1994, won 62% of the vote at the last general election in 2014.
Anger over the economy and corruption may have eroded its appeal.
Turnout was about 65% in the twin parliamentary and provincial elections – a drop compared to the 73% registered five years ago.
Some six million young people did not register to vote.
Full results are due on Saturday.
Casting his vote in the country’s sixth democratic national election since apartheid ended 25 years ago, President Ramaphosa acknowledged the “rampant corruption” of recent years.
“We have made mistakes but we have been sorry about those mistakes and we are saying our people should reinvest their confidence in us,” he said.
“Corruption got into the way, patronage got into the way and not focusing on the needs of our people got in the way.”
Why has the ANC lost support?
Young people queuing to vote spoke of their difficulties in finding jobs, with unemployment at 27%.
One young voter said her future employment prospects were on her mind. “I don’t feel confident about getting the job I want,” she said.
“I’m a member of the ANC, but I didn’t vote for them this time,” construction worker Thabo Makhene told Reuters news agency. “They need to catch a wake-up. The way they run the state, mishandling state funds, they’ve lost their morals.”
However, many voters stayed loyal to the ANC, which led the fight against apartheid.
Esau Zwane, 90, waiting to vote in Soweto, Johannesburg, lived under white-minority rule. He told the BBC he was celebrating “that our country is now ruled by black people”.
Votes are cast for parties, with seats in the 400-member National Assembly allocated according to the share of the vote gained by each party.
These MPs then elect a president.