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23 Apr 2009 15:07
The number of votes coming into the IEC’s national results centre picked up from a trickle in the early hours of the morning to more substantial numbers by Thursday afternoon, but parties still had a long haul to the final result.
After lunch the first three top contenders were the African National Congress, the Democratic Alliance and the Congress of the People.
Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Brigalia Bam said about 38% (7 332) of 19 734 voting districts had been counted by midday. Results from 12 402 were still outstanding.
So far the voter turnout for the completed districts stood at 77%.
“We are still waiting for many, many results,” said Bam, as the number of people gazing up at the commission’s electronic scoreboards grew.
The commission was pleased that the elections had been peaceful and that in flashpoints such as KwaZulu-Natal there had been no deaths and no intimidation.
Electoral staff who had left polling stations in the early hours of the morning after counting had all arrived home safely.
“I am very pleased to see this level of tolerance in our country that took place yesterday,” said Bam.
“We are grateful that everything has gone so well.”
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing.
In Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, presiding officer Sindisiwe Ncube was allegedly found with IFP-marked ballot papers.
She was granted
bail of R4 000 in the Esikhawini Regional Court on Thursday, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Police allegedly found her in possession of 100 ballot papers, 62 of which had been marked in favour of the IFP and 38 of which were unmarked.
IEC official Norman Du Plessis said another official was still being investigated for losing election materials.
There had also been concerns about ballot paper and box shortages and long queues.
IEC CEO Pansy Tlakula said allowing people to vote anywhere in their province had contributed to delays as officials had to help them complete the necessary forms.
Asked what the biggest lesson she had learnt was, she said the more flexible the electoral rules became, the more complicated the process.
Meanwhile, members of political parties sat staring at the screen tracking the results of counting.
By 2pm, the ANC had 4 395 940 votes (65,63%), the DA had 1 159 889 (17,09%) and Cope had 545 872 (8,11%).
At the bottom of the pile was the A-party with 1 099 votes.
The IFP had 3,03% of votes, the UDM 1,21% and the Freedom Front Plus 0,94%.
In the Western Cape, where the IEC had counted 920 048 votes, the DA had 49,75%, the ANC 29,99%, Cope 9,23%, the ID 6,46% and the ACDP 1,54%.
University of Johannesburg political analyst Piet Croucamp said this brought the DA closer to the 50% plus one it needed not to have to form a coalition.
ANC breakaway party Cope, which is only a few months old, seemed to be making dents in opposition support in the Eastern Cape, where it was running with more votes than the UDM.
But the ANC remained king in the Eastern Cape, having got 1 064 142 votes so far.
In KwaZulu-Natal, which was expected to be a race between the ANC and the IFP, the ruling party had 460 762 votes, the IFP 163 834.
The IEC had seven days after midnight on Friday to announce final results, but hopes were high for a result by the weekend. - Sapa
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