Counting of results progressing well, says IEC

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pretoria - The counting of ballot papers around the country is progressing well, says the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

By midday today, 38 percent of the votes had been counted and results from about 19 726 districts had been captured.

IEC chairperson Dr Brigalia Bam said they expected to announce the final results within two or three days.

The African National Congress (ANC) has reached the four million mark nationally, followed by the Democratic alliance (DA) which has just over a million votes. The DA is also set to win the Western Cape premiership.

The Congress of the People (COPE) is currently the third largest party with about just over 500 000 votes.

Results have been pouring in from around the country, since early morning, and are expected to carry on coming in throughout the evening.

Dr Bam said the IEC would be able to announce the voter turnout once all the results had been captured.

She said the counting of results in most areas took place very late on Wednesday and in some instances officials only started counting in the early hours of this morning.

As the elections drew to a close on Wednesday, voters flocked to the polls in their numbers, causing long queues and a shortage of voting material in some districts and voting stations.

Presiding officers scrambled to supply polling stations with voting material. All stations closed at 9pm. However, all voters who were in the queue at the time were allowed to vote.

These challenges led to counting getting off to a late start in some voting districts.

Dr Bam acknowledged that the provision in the law allowing people to cast their votes at any polling station had provided a logistical nightmare for the IEC. Under Section 24 A, eligible voters were allowed to vote at a polling station where they were not registered.

Many voters went to different polling stations to avoid long queues at certain stations.

"People were just voting anywhere and in some cases we catered for a certain number of voters at a particular voting station," she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Bam commended South Africans for the peaceful manner in which they carried themselves throughout Wednesday.

"Even in the so-called hot spots, there were no conflicts reported to us," Dr Bam said.

The police were, however, investigating a murder case in Port Elizabeth where a man was killed in his house. Dr Bam said it was not clear whether the incident was related to the elections.