According to predictions, the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) could double the votes it won in the 2014 national elections.
After 10:30am on Thursday morning, just over 4-million votes, out of a possible 27-million, had been counted. At the time of publishing, the FF+ came in just behind the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with 3.14% of the vote.
According to predictions made by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research — in partnership with the SABC — the FF+ could win 2.86% of the vote nationally with a voter turnout of 64.89%.
FF+ spokesperson Phillip van Staden told the Mail & Guardian on Thursday that the party isn’t counting its chickens before they hatch. “At this stage it looks very positive for FF+. But we say we are not getting excited too early because it is still early days,” Van Staden said.
In 2014, the party managed to win 0.9% of the votes, with a voter turnout of 73.48%.
In April, the M&G reported that, where other small parties had lost votes hand over fist, the FF+ has steadily maintained the same number of seats it had since the 2004 elections.
Van Staden said the party embarked on “a very hard campaign over the last year and a half”.
“On the ground level, we were able to mobilise all our existing voters plus new voters from other parties to come vote for us,” Van Staden told the M&G. “I think that is why it has turned out so well for us.”
He added that the party is looking forward to gaining seats on the provincial legislatures of Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Van Staden said the FF+ is not counting out the possibility of winning seats in the Northern Cape and the Western Cape.
“But we will definitely grow in seats in the North West legislature, the Gauteng legislature and the Free State legislature,” he said.
In a surprising result, the FF+ has already won a number of districts in Joe Morolong Municipality in the Northern Cape. In 2014, the party failed to muster any votes in the municipality, with the ANC winning 78% of the vote.
According to the 2016 community survey, 92% of the municipality’s population speak Setswana with only 3% speaking Afrikaans.