/ 14 April 2004

Latest results: ANC heads for easy win

Initial results from South Africa’s national election released early on Thursday morning indicated that the African National Congress (ANC) was heading for an unsurprising victory of near two-thirds of the vote, with 63,77%.

Working off a low base of votes counted at 16%, the official opposition Democratic Alliance, with 19,75%, appears to be faring far more strongly than in the 1999 national election. The Inkatha Freedom Party had 85 154 votes (3,68%) with the Independent Democrats netting 56 221 (2,4%).

The New National Party stood at 54 739 votes (2,37%) with the African Christian Democratic Party on 48 562 (2,1%).

The Freedom Front Plus got 45 864 votes (1,9%); the United Democratic Movement 39 25 (1,71%); and the Pan Africanist Congress 14 611 (0,63%).

The Keep It Straight and Simple Party (KISS) is at the bottom of the table with 923 (0,04%).

In the provincial elections, the ANC had 126 327 (40,55%) votes in the Western Cape, with 27 455 (8,81%) for the NNP, and 103 056 (33,08%) for the DA. The ID had 25 564 votes (8,21%) in this province.

The ANC had scored 97 544 votes (43,9%) in KwaZulu-Natal, the NNP 1 433 (0,64%), the IFP 77 567 (34,9%) and the DA 27 744 (12,49%).

The ANC had garnered 188 896 votes (82,21%) in Mpumalanga, and 195 628 (87,27%) in Limpopo.

North West province had registered 109 184 (71,61%) votes for the ANC and 23 986 (15,73%) for the DA. The ANC got 103 520 (72,5%) votes in the Free State with 21 848 (15,3%) for the DA.

The ANC was leading in Gauteng with 221 867 votes (50,2%) compared to the DA’s 158 820 votes (35,9%). The FF Plus drew 14 981 votes (3,39%) in this province.

Many polling stations across the country stayed open late into the night to cope with long voter queues, while results from the election started trickling in.

IEC Chairperson Dr Brigalia Bam assured the country that polling stations would stay open until the last person in the voting queue was served. According to IEC regulations, people still in queues after the 9pm shut-off time were still able to cast their votes.

In Gauteng, there were power failures at nine polling stations in Soweto and three power failures in Roodepoort. Bam said that some polling stations were voting by candlelight. In the Western Cape, where there have been reports of long queues, 10 polling stations were still open by 9pm.

KwaZulu-Natal appears to be the worst hit province, with most of its polling stations still open by the shut-off time. The IEC said it was deploying extra staff to the province cope with the situation. In the Free State, 36% of polling stations were still open by 9pm and in the Northern Cape only three polling stations were open by the shut-off time.

At the polling stations where there were no queues, the counting process began immediately.

First to release results

The district of Dysselsdorp in the Eastern Cape was the first to release its results for the 2004 elections, announcing an African National Congress victory with 194 votes gained.

The IEC in Pretoria released the results at 10.30pm. The Democratic Alliance came in second with 56 votes and the New Labour Party third with 25.

The Independent Democrats picked up 13 votes and the New National Party 18.

Strikes at polling stations

Gauteng IEC head Gugu Maplaopane is investigating allegations that vote counters are on strike at two polling stations in Gauteng. She named them as Paulshof and Kanani.

“There were also reports from Umfuleni but it has been sorted out there,” she said.

The Democratic Alliance’s Douglas Gibson said on a live television debate on Wednesday night that Paulshof counters had downed tools in protest at having been only paid for work done until 9pm.

Smooth election, despite bomb scares

In general, the election appears to have gone off smoothly with few major incidents. Voting was marred at three polling stations by bomb scares — in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban — all of which proved to be hoaxes.

The Pretoria North police station, doubling as a polling station, was evacuated when it received a bomb threat from an anonymous caller just after 6pm. Nothing was found.

Shortly after voting started at the Durban City Hall, police received information of a bomb in the building, Durban police reported.

People were escorted out the building and the area was cordoned off, but again, nothing was found.

In the third incident, security was stepped up around Gauteng’s elections results centre following reports of a bomb scare.

Members of the bomb disposal and dog units of the SA Police Service rushed to the centre on Wednesday morning when claims of a bomb surfaced, but nothing was found.

Apart from these, one of the more serious other incidents occurred in Botshabelo in the Free State, when four Democratic Alliance members were arrested and then released on bail of R100 each after being detained in cells for four hours.

Advocate Pieter Geldenhuys, responsible for organising their release, said he had to drive to Botshabelo before police would release the men.

DA MPL Darryl Worth and three other DA members allegedly drove into a voting station in a vehicle bearing a DA logo.

“Seventeen police officers and five cars surrounded the members in an American-style arrest. This is a complete over-reaction and an abuse of state power,” said DA spokesperson Andries Botha.

Election rules dictate that no electioneering may take place at a voting station.

ANC mystified by IFP sticker charge

Voter registration stickers that were seized by police at a hostel in Durban on Wednesday were for 107 people who had registered to vote in the election, KwaZulu-Natal chief Electoral Officer Mawethu Mosery said.

However, he said that these people would have been able to cast their ballot as their names were on the voters’ roll.

Mosery told reporters at a late night briefing in the city that the stickers were issued by the IEC registration machine on December 2, 2003 and January 20, 2004.

Police spokesperson Director Bala Naidoo said there had been no arrests. Police, however, were investigating the incident.

Earlier in the day, a BBC radio reporter who was at the SJ Smith hostel in Merebank saw a man, who said he was an ANC member, with a roll of stickers. However, he did not see the man placing the stickers into identity books.

The IFP has lodged a complaint with election authorities after claiming that ANC reporters were seen placing the stickers into the ID books of voters.

Responding to the allegations, the ANC said in a statement: “It is a mystery to the ANC as to how the IFP came to conclude that the individuals concerned are members of the ANC. We believe that anyone who violated the electoral law should be arrested and charged.

“The ANC secretary general (Kgalema Motlanthe) has also requested the national commissioner of the police to investigate this matter and assured him of our full co-operation.”

The ANC said it was concerned that the IFP’s complaint “may be intended to lay the basis of a rejection of the election results should they not favour the IFP”.

Three die at polling stations

A Limpopo woman who collapsed at a polling station in Greater Letaba outside Tzaneen was among three who died during Wednesday’s voting, SABC radio news reported.

Officials said the woman — named only as Mrs Makananisa — collapsed immediately after casting her vote.

Earlier, an Eastern Cape man Popana Zeti (70) died while waiting to vote at a station in Macleantown.

And the IEC in the Western Cape confirmed that a voter died at the St Cyprians polling station in Cape Town while waiting to vote.

Details of the cause of death and identity of the voter were not

yet known, SABC reported.

International observers ‘impressed’

An IEC presiding officer at the City Hall polling station, Rashaad Solomon, said international observers from Canada who were stationed at his station were impressed by the voting process.

“The observers said our election process was very much similar to their elections in Canada and they were very impressed. They also timed voters and found that the voting process per person was under two minutes.”

By 10pm on Wednesday, streets in suburbs south of Johannesburg were quiet, with an air of peace and calm as IEC officials began the counting process. ‒ Staff reporter and Sapa

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