Polls opened at 7 a.m. local time at more than 22,000 election centers across the country. With 25 million South Africans expected to cast their votes Wednesday, polls are scheduled to close at 9 p.m.
Mandela -- and current President Jacob Zuma's -- African National Congress party is expected to remain in power, although analysts suspect a drop in voter confidence may result in the loss of some parliamentary seats.
South African political commentator Justice Malala wrote in CNN opinion piece, "Many are hoping that the ANC will get a scare in these elections and begin to reflect on some of its failures."
ANC leader Zuma has also been plagued by scandal, including allegations that he "unduly benefited" from the $23 million renovations to his private homestead.