• IEC expects to release election results by Sunday
  • The first result of the 2024 elections has been released from the Bizana Baptist Church in the Eastern Cape
  • With 20 voting districts declared, the ANC still tops the list of votes on the national ballot
  • Gauteng Police say 16 elections-related arrests have been made since the poll date proclamation
  • Counting of ballots continues, albeit slowly, as only 0.57% of Voting Districts have been declared (133 out of 23 293)
  • The majority of voting stations closed late last night due to long queues: IEC
ANC Gauteng optimistic about retaining majority

ANC Gauteng optimistic about retaining majority

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The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng expresses optimism about retaining its majority in the province as vote counting continues.

Gauteng, the country’s economic hub, is under close scrutiny. In the previous national elections, the ANC received 53.2% of the votes.

The party’s Head of Legal and Monitoring in the province, Advocate Ezra Letsoalo says, “We are quite excited as we are waiting for these results to come about. Our campaign has been quite convivial, characterised by a lot of excitement across the board. People we have interacted with are showing confidence and commitment in the ANC and its ability to renew itself. In Gauteng, just in the last 18 months, the deployment of amaPanyaza – the ANC will hover around 50%.”

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) praised voters who stayed in queues until the early hours of this morning to cast their votes. Nearly one percent of the votes have been counted, with 218 voting districts declared.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the uMkhonto we Sizwe party is leading, followed by the ANC, with the IFP in third position.

2024 Elections | Monitoring voting across the country: Tebogo Phakedi

IEC commends citizens who queued for longer hours to vote

IEC commends citizens who queued for longer hours to vote

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The Electoral Commission has commended voters who were in queues until the early hours of this morning waiting to cast their votes.

Majority of voting stations closed late last night because of long queues of voters that they needed to clear.

About 10% of the votes have been counted thus far.

The uMkhonto we Sizwe party is leading in KwaZulu-Natal, followed by the African National Congress, while the Inkatha Freedom Party is in third position.

The commission’s National General Manager of Operations, Granville Abrahams says, “Given the challenges that we’ve had, we’ve issued instructions to our stations during the day after consulting with political parties as well, that we just go entirely manual to ensure that the queues start moving and during the course of the day- that was what we had implemented. And I must say, I must commend people that actually stood there in the queues patiently and some into the early hours to make sure that they exercise their democratic choice.” 

Snaking long queues well into the night at Fleurhof Primary in Johannesburg: 

‘Smooth results capturing in E Cape despite voting day challenges’

‘Smooth results capturing in E Cape despite voting day challenges’

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The Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Eastern Cape states that its results capturing process is proceeding smoothly despite some issues on voting day.

Over 30 voting stations in the province opened late due to service delivery-related protests, but all were operational by 2pm.

Provincial Electoral Officer Khayakazi Magudumana says they relocated from Bizana Baptist Church voting station to the northern areas of Gqeberha because of nearby shooting incidents.

Magudumana says, “We had three stations in Nelson Mandela where we had to change the counting station to be in a different hall due to security issues. There were shooting incidents happening as it started getting dark, and the situation seemed to be escalating. We felt it was better to relocate for counting purposes.”

Voters roll glitches in Eastern Cape:

The announcement of election results has slowed dramatically. Currently, 0.94 percent of ballots cast in the national elections have been counted, with 218 voting districts declaring their results.

The African National Congress (ANC) is leading but has dipped below 50% with 13,383 votes. The Democratic Alliance (DA) follows with 7,109 votes, ahead of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with 1,947 votes. The uMkhonto we Sizwe party (MK) and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) are closely matched nationally, with PA’s votes primarily from the Western Cape and Northern Cape, and MK’s support in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

The IEC noted that most voting stations closed late last night due to long queues of voters.

Currently, just over half a percent of ballots cast in the national elections have been counted, with 133 voting districts declaring their results, representing a small sample and not an accurate prediction of the final results.

2024 Elections | Voting counting in full swing

OPINION: Democratic backsliding or significant progress for IEC?

OPINION: Democratic backsliding or significant progress for IEC?

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By Sethulego Matebesi

While the level of trust in the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa has been consistently higher when compared to other institutions, it is ironic how each election presents a new set of challenges that puts this achievement at risk.

Similarly, the 2024 General Elections are facing the same predicament.

The IEC has been crucial in ensuring free and fair elections since 1994. This is a far cry from the decline of trust in institutions such as the Office of the Public Protector and the judiciary, which shocking scandals have rocked over the past few years. These scandals related to the impeachment of the former Public Protector and two judges.

But what factors have contributed to the IEC’s defining feature as a robust democratic institution that fosters good governance? First is the historical context where free and fair elections are crucial to the country’s transition. Secondly, the Constitution provides a robust legal framework that guarantees the IEC’s independence and ensures that it acts independently of government. Thirdly, unlike most public institutions, the IEC is staffed with professionals with expertise in electoral processes and management. Fourthly, the institution is subject to oversight by various independent. Finally, it continuously adopts modern technology to enhance electoral processes and civic education, including using international best practices.

Credibility of the 2024 General Elections

At the beginning of the year, long before the election campaigns gained momentum, the former secretary general of the African National Congress (ANC), Ace Magashule, shot the first challenge that raised questions about the credibility of the IEC. He was adamant that there had been vote rigging in the previous elections. Such pronouncements indicate the inherently asymmetric relationship between political leaders’ aspirations and their responsibility when assuming positions of authority in political parties and government.

Additionally, some allegations about ballot papers being transported by an IEC official without a police escort and other related incidents during special voting raise questions about the commission’s credibility. As we have learned from previous elections, the IEC’s challenges in delivering free and fair elections are complex and difficult, if not impossible, to prevent because of human errors. For example, despite the IEC providing training to electoral officials – the guardians of democratic processes – there have been too many glaring errors in safeguarding ballot papers. The dilemma becomes acute when one realises that the problem, in some instances, is associated with the absence of security measures or where these are dependent entirely on the decisions of presiding officers.

While everyone can make errors, however, where the integrity and trustworthiness of elections are concerned, the consequences of such human failures can be severe. Such incidents can shake public trust in the electoral process, as secure ballot papers are essential for the legitimacy of election results. This can provide malign actors with more effective tools for disinformation creation. But above all, these actors may also weaponise these failures to hollow out democracy.

The 2024 General Elections is, in many ways, the continued realisation of an improbable dream that has materialised in 1994. Not only have South African voters been brought together – albeit figuratively- under the emblem of a rainbow nation, but it has been a marvel to observe how the IEC has become more adaptable and agile over the years.

To maintain public confidence, the IEC must make drastic and sweeping improvements in quality control measures, improve oversight of the distribution of ballot papers, and enhance communication with stakeholders about corrective action taken.

On the whole, however, it is doubtful that the few challenges the IEC experienced will affect the integrity of the 2024 elections. In fact, thirty years later, without eschewing the challenges the IEC faces, its impeccable performance in maintaining and advancing democracy is far more deserving of general recognition than has been acknowledged.

Tribalism narrative in the 2024 polls is a nemesis to social cohesion

Tribalism narrative in the 2024 polls is a nemesis to social cohesion

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By Prof Bheki Mgomezulu

Tribalism, ethnicity, and religious orientation are some of the ills that hold the African people back. These have been responsible for the deaths of many people across the African continent in different magnitude.

The continent is replete with examples to buttress this fact. The Rwandan genocide in 1994, political turmoil in the Central African Republic in 2013, activities of Al-Shabaab in Somalia, and the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria are some of the few examples one can cite to sustain this view.

Pixley ka Seme was mindful of the devastating impact of tribalism and other forms of discrimination.

In 1906, he delivered a speech titled “The regeneration of Africa.” He warned against embracing the scourge of division among the African people, arguing that “the African people, although not a strictly homogeneous race, possess a common fundamental sentiment.” Seme was averse to the idea of embracing racial and tribal or ethnic differences.

Unfortunately, decades later, some of Seme’s comrades in present-day South Africa have wittingly and unwittingly let him down. They have individually and collectively sustained a false narrative that some provinces vote along tribal lines and that some political parties appeal to specific ethnic groups. They do this even when facts point to the contrary. This practice negates any attempt to build the country. When such statements are made on the eve of an election, they become worrisome.

Since the formation of the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) in 2023, tribalism has been invoked and has been used for political expediency. The narrative is that this party only appeals to Zulu people in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and has no national footprints. The fact that the MKP has branches in other provinces does not seem to bother the sponsors of this baseless narrative.

It can be tolerated when such claims are sustained by those people who are ignorant about the history of South Africa and the history of the African National Congress (ANC). What is concerning and puzzling is that some leaders in the ANC have joined the bandwagon to push this dangerous narrative.

Recently, ANC Youth League President Collen Malatji raised an unfounded concern that voters in KZN vote along tribal lines and called on different stakeholders to address this “issue.” Such utterances are unfortunate, especially when they come from an ANC leader who is supposed to know better. What he raised as a concern had no basis, it was further from the truth.

A quick reflection on the history of the ANC would have led him to a different conclusion. For years KZN has remained the ANC’s biggest province – with the Eastern Cape coming second. Even when the Eastern Cape was replaced by Mpumalanga province recently in position two and was pushed to position three, KZN still retained the number one spot. EThekwini (Durban) has been the ANC’s biggest region nationally for years. These facts debunk the claim that KZN votes along tribal lines.

If the claim of tribal voting pattern in KZN was true, most of the electorate in this province would be voting for either the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) or the National Freedom Party (NFP) – both of which are based in KZN and are led by Zulu leaders. However, this is not the case. Malatji and all those who share his view should have drawn from history and should have done an analysis of the ANC’s support base before making such false claims which have the potential to tear the nation apart. Such claims are a nemesis to social cohesion and nation-building.

Context is always important. The labelling of the Zulu people as “tribalists” has been going on for some time. When the July 2021 unrest began following the incarceration of Former President Jacob Zuma, President Ramaphosa publicly dubbed this incident “ethnic mobilisation.” Some of us challenged him until he withdrew his statement. This showed good leadership from the President in that he conceded that he had made a mistake. Others should do the same.

The 2024 general election is critical for this country. Any reckless statement could ignite the fire which would be difficult to extinguish. Social cohesion should take precedence over populism.