This election season has been deadly for candidates and party activists in South Africa, with more than 12 killed ahead of Wednesday's vote.

National police have determined it a serious enough problem to create a task force to investigate the deaths, most occurring in KwaZulu-Natal province.

An analyst says one motivation behind the killings is the chance of a steady job in a country where more than a quarter of people are unemployed.

President Jacob Zuma's office urges peaceful municipal elections. Campaigning in many parts of the country has been calm.

The ruling African National Congress faces a serious challenge in important areas. Those include the commercial center, Johannesburg; the Tshwane metro area around the capital, Pretoria; and the municipality named after the ANC's star, Nelson Mandela Bay.