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The CSIR’s model is based on voting patterns from previous elections and has been very accurate in the past, even when it has used only results of 10 per cent of registered voters.
Although South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said that voting results this year are being collated faster than earlier elections, the final result will only be available by late on Friday or early Saturday as votes are counted in the 22,263 polling stations.
CSIR is also projecting 4.8 per cent for newcomer, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), 2.4 per cent for the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), 1.6 per cent for the National Freedom Party (NFP) and 1.1 per cent for the United Democratic Movement (UDM). The Vryheids [Afrikaans for Freedom] Front Plus gets 0.9 per cent with all other parties below the 0.9 per cent level.
The CSIR projections are similar to the last IPSOS survey before the election, which showed the ANC with 63.4 per cent of the national vote (on a moderate turnout), down from the 65.9 per cent it won in 2009, with little apparent impact from recent corruption scandals and service delivery protests.
Voter turnout was predicted at 72 per cent by CSIR, three percentage points lower than in the last national election in 2009 and continuing a trend as the first racially inclusive elections in 1994 has so far had the highest voter turnout.
A record 25.3 million South Africans are registered to vote. Each voter has two ballots, one for the national legislature and one for the provincial legislature, so a voter can choose to vote for two different parties. South Africa uses a proportional representation voting system, so each vote has equal weight. Voters choose a party, not a person, and the party selects who will go to the legislatures to represent it. The executive president is chosen by Parliament, which means that effectively it is the leader of the majority party.
The DA gained 17 seats to 67 seats in the 2009 election. The Western Cape is the only province governed by the DA, while the other eight provinces are governed by the ANC.
In the economic heartland province of Gauteng, the CSIR projections are that the ANC will win 56.3 per cent of the provincial vote and the DA 29.1 per cent, while in the Western Cape the DA wins with 57.2 per cent and the ANC 34.2 per cent.
Just before 5pm, the ANC had 6,873,108 votes, giving it 62.56 per cent of the total national vote counted thus far. The DA was second with 2,475,857 votes, giving it 22.54 per cent.
The EFF were in third spot with 571,572 votes, or 5.20 per cent of the counted vote. The IFP was fourth with 271,439 votes or 2.47 per cent of the national votes. The total votes counted at the time were at 10,986,228.
In Gauteng, vote counting was slower than elsewhere. The ANC was at 52.5 per cent compared with 32 per cent for the DA. Earlier in the capital city of Pretoria the race was far closer with the ANC at 44.1 per cent of the 35,719 national votes counted, while the DA was snapping at their heels with 41.0 per cent, but this was just after 12.30pm.
The counting of votes was progressing well according to IEC chairwoman Pansy Tlakula. The election was peaceful with only isolated incidents of violence like the arrest of two people for attacking a voting station in Tzaneen, Limpopo, the IEC said on Thursday.
In KwaZulu-Natal two shooting incidents were reported in the vicinity of voting stations, while police found a ballot box containing 16 special votes in Springs on the East Rand. In another incident a school in which ballot boxes containing votes which had already been counted and captured was broken into.
IFP supporters held election officials and ANC members hostage in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, on Thursday, the party said. IFP secretary general Sbongile Nkomo said ballot boxes at the Women for Peace voting station were apparently loaded into an unidentified car. This led to IFP members holding election officials and ANC members hostage. The matter has now been resolved.
Helmo Preuss in Pretoria, South Africa for The BRICS Post