The DA has lodged 60 official objections and 2,500 complaints against the results, eNCA reports. These will be taken up with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) at around 10am when they meet at the national party liaison board meeting. Objections are far more serious than complaints.
Other parties will also be lodging similar complaints, with Cope MP Deidre Carter having evidence of how easy it would have been for her to vote multiple times.
With around 23 percent of votes counted after the general elections in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) was living up to its title of ruling party.
By 8.15am, the ANC had about 1.5 million votes, followed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) with around 750,000 and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) at 230,000.
While votes in many big districts were outstanding, the voting trends seem to follow the current status quo in South African politics as these parties are currently the top three parties represented in the National Assembly in terms of seats.
The big surprise was the Freedom Front Plus, which at this early stage had 92,000 votes – a strong showing – and if the trend continues the party could see more MPs representing it in Parliament.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) support among the electorate stood at 42,000 while the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) had 31,000 votes cast in their favour.
New Kid on the block GOOD, formed by former DA mayor Patrica De Lille, was seventh on the board with 22,000 votes.
Early counting placed the militant Black First Land First (BLF) in the far distance with less than 2,000 votes of the ballots counted so far. Early votes generally always come in from the smaller voting stations first, which tend to be mainly in rural areas.
Their nemesis, the Freedom Front Plus, were faring far better.
Below is a snapshot of the 48 parties’ electoral fortunes nationally so far (with 23.5% of the count done).
With just under 10% of the vote counted in Gauteng, South Africa’s economic heartland and one of the expected battleground provinces, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was also leading with over 120,000 votes, or just over 53% of the vote counted.
By 6:30am on Thursday, the main challengers, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had tallied just under 60,000 and just over 30,000 votes, respectively.
The next best party was the Freedom Front Plus with just under 10,000 votes, while the rest trailed in even further behind with less than a percent of the vote each.
Gauteng is SA’s richest province, contributing over a third of the national gross domestic product while it is also the most populous, home to a staggering 14 million people.
With less than a quarter of votes counted in South Africa’s border provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, the ANC was also leading the pack of political parties seeking seats in these provincial legislatures.
Early results captured on the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) system, show the ANC leading in Mpumalanga where around 20 percent of votes cast had been counted. By 7am, the ruling party was leading with 186,453 votes, followed by the Democratic Alliance with 25,603 and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) wih 22,708.
Limpopo appeared to follow 2014 voting trends, with the ANC leading with 62,703 votes, followed by the EFF, which replaced the DA as the official opposition in that province in the 2014 poll.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) looks to be regaining lost ground in its stronghold province of KwaZulu-Natal where early election results show it putting in a strong showing behind the ANC.
By 7am on Wednesday, with just over 150,000 votes counted, the ANC was leading with just under 80,000 votes, followed by the IFP on 32,700 and the DA with 18,000.
The DA is the official opposition in the province but a resurgent IFP is putting up a solid push for the title of official opposition which it lost to the DA in the 2014 general election.
In neighbouring Eastern Cape, with 443,000 votes counted, the ANC was leading with 307,000, followed by the DA with 78,000 and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with just under 30,000.
The ANC is the governing party in the province but in the 2016 local government elections saw a coalition of the DA and EFF take control of Nelson Mandela Bay, which includes Port Elizabeth, before that coalition collapsed amid acrimony.
A three-party dominance also emerged in the provinces of the Free State, North West and Northern Cape.
By 07h30, the ANC was ahead in all three provinces, capturing 64,493 votes in the Free State, 103,023 in North West and 99,660 in the Northern Cape.
However, less than a third of the votes had been counted and captured on the IEC dashboard in the Free State and North West, while the process was almost two-thirds complete in the Northern Cape – South Africa’s largest province, known for also having the country’s smallest population.
If the trend continues, the EFF will remain the official opposition in North West after obtaining around 26,604 votes thus far.
With vote counting and capturing at an advanced stage in the Northern Cape, the DA had obtained around a third of the vote compared to the just over 50 percent of the vote having gone to the ANC.
In a statement at 11.30pm, IEC commissioner Mosotho Moepya said the Electoral Commission “would like to assure South Africa and all voters of the overall integrity of the electoral process” … “in the light of allegations of two separate instances of double voting”.
The alleged instances of the same individuals voting at different voting stations had been brought to the IEC’s attention over the past few hours.
Moepya, however, said the IEC’s checks and safeguards together served to protect the integrity of the vote.View image on Twitter
He named the voters’ roll, the requirement of a valid ID being scanned, the marking of voters’ thumbs with indelible ink, the signing of sworn statements by voters at stations where they were not registered, the presence of party agents monitoring activities at voting stations, the existence of exception reports and the fact that the results and data around them would be captured indefinitely to identify instances of electoral fraud.
Moepya said data from scanners would be assessed along with analysis of voters’ rolls. Where fraud could be detected, results from affected wards would be quarantined and criminal charges would be pursued against perpetrators, “who will be very well known to us. They have left footprints, and will be pursued.”
He said objections could be raised by political parties throughout the process, including ineligibility on the part of any voter to vote, double voting or any other irregularity. They called for all suspected cases to be registered for investigation.
No voter would be allowed to place the overall integrity of the elections in doubt, said Moepya.
Critics have pointed out that many of the IEC’s safeguards – including the ink being easily removable from thumbs, scanners being broken and not linked to a central system, voters’ rolls being printed only for each voting station and stickers no longer being placed in ID books because ID cards cannot receive them – appeared to have either broken down or shown serious vulnerabilities.
They have also pointed out that instances of double voting more than likely went beyond just two separate instances.
Moepya conceded that it was possible the problem was real, but the IEC would fully investigate and take appropriate action. He said everything would be transparent.
“We will share them with you. And we will know what happened.”
The “critical process” of counting votes had begun in earnest in South Africa after voting stations closed their doors at 9pm, the country’s elections body said on Wednesday night, with the first results being delivered.
The first election results in the Eastern Cape came out at a voting station where only 21 ballots were cast.The results from the Mvomvo Lodge voting station at Umzimbuvu region in Eastern Cape was posted outside the results centre.The results were:ANC – 9 votes;EFF – 7 votes;ATM – 2 votes;UDM – 2 votes; andPAC – one vote.
In a statement, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) said in most areas voting progressed smoothly “despite isolated incidents where voting operations were adversely affected by inclement weather, community unrest, power outages and some logistical challenges”.
Inclement weather conditions affected temporary voting stations in the Free State and the Eastern Cape.
“Strong thunderstorms were reported in the early evening in the Free State where 16 temporary voting stations in Mangaung were blown down by strong winds and where heavy rain affected the conditions underfoot,” the statement said.
“In Nelson Mandela Bay and Craddock in the Eastern Cape heavy rain and winds also affected operations in more than 30 temporary voting stations.”
Power cuts, which have become more commonplace in the country as Eskom grapples with financial and operational woes, plunged several voting stations in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng into darkness with candles being lit to guide voters.
“The Electoral Commission has been working closely with Eskom and local municipalities to rapidly restore power in affected areas.”
Explaining the process after voting stations closed its doors, the IEC said that electoral staff would check the seals and open ballot boxes whereafter the ballots are reconciled with those issued.
“Once the reconciliation is completed, the marked ballots are sorted into piles according to the party voted for. For ease of counting, the ballots are grouped together in batches of tens and hundreds,” the IEC said.
“The ballots for each party are counted and recounted to ensure accuracy and the results captured on two duplicate results slips which reflect the voting station, the number of cast ballots, the number of votes for each party and the number of spoiled ballots.”
The process is observed by party agents who then sign the results slips which are posted on the door of the voting station.
“One result slip is then posted on the door of the voting station while the other is taken by the Presiding Officer to the local IEC office where it is scanned and the data entered into the results system using a double capture system to minimise any human error.”
“Once audited by independent auditors, the results are released and are simultaneously visible to all those with access to the results system – including Electoral Commission, political parties, observers and the media. Parties can verify the captured results against their copy of the original results slip to ensure accuracy.”
The IEC expected the first results from voting districts with smaller numbers of voters to be reflected on the commission’s results system before midnight on Wednesday.
Results from other larger voting districts are expected from Thursday onward.
Voting stations closed their doors at 9pm on Wednesday, though voters who were still waiting to vote and had arrived before the cut-off time were still allowed to cast their ballots.
The process of counting the ballots began in several voting districts.
IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela confirmed on Wednesday night that the first results were expected from about 11pm, with the smaller stations normally reporting results first.
She told IOL: “At 9pm when our voting stations close our officials and political parties will take a two-minute break and then they begin the sorting and the counting. After they have done the sorting and the counting, historically the first station that posts the results comes somewhere between 11pm and midnight.”
Results only really started streaming in from around 3am on Thursday from other smaller voting stations, with the next morning at 11am usually the time when bigger data streams from other stations began to flood in.
The IEC is expected to announce the final results on Saturday, with political parties given until Friday to lodge objections.
You will be able to follow the results data as they are announced by the IEC by accessing The Citizen’s results page here.
There was no last-minute rush in Lethabong, north-east of Rustenburg in North West, on Wednesday night as polling stations closed.
At Noka ya Lerato Primary School, voting station, electoral officers closed the station at exactly 21:00, with no more voters waiting to vote.
African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members sang and danced opposite each other outside the voting station, confident that their parties had received the most votes.
Counting of votes started once the voting station was closed.
Voting in the area got off to a slow start on Wednesday, with the number of people voting reckoned to be lower than what was the case previously.
A party agent said at one voting station in Lethabong over 1,000 registered voters did not turn to vote.
“There is only one polling station where the number is good. At Lethabong Community Creche about 300 people did not turn up to vote, this is the only station recording a better turn up,” said the party agent who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak. – African News Agency (ANA)
As voting cutoff time drew closer on election day, government urged citizens who were yet to vote to go and cast their votes at polling stations.
Voting got off fairly well early Wednesday although unrest in protesting communities in provinces such as Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and North West caused glitches. Government said the department of home affairs’ offices would be open until 9pm to help those without identity documents. The Citizen