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South African ruling ANC party leads as counting continues in general elections | Coastweek

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- Members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) encourages voters to vote for the ANC near a polling station in Cape Town, South Africa. South Africans on Wednesday went to the polls for the sixth democratic election since the end of apartheid in 1994. The general elections will determine the country’s president for the next five years. XINHUA PHOTO - FRED BARKER

South African ruling ANC party leads as
counting continues in general elections

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- The preliminary results released by the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on Thursday showed that the current ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), is in the lead in the general elections as the counting continues.

The IEC said that with 24.58 percent of votes counted, the ANC is leading with 54.81 percent of the votes.

The opposition Democratic Alliance is next with 26.30 percent, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are third with 8.17 percent.

Freedom Front Plus ranks fourth with 3.25 percent while other small parties are below one percent.

The IEC said in a statement that "despite isolated incidents where voting operations were adversely affected by inclement weather, community unrest, power outages and some logistical challenges," the voting progressed smoothly in most areas.

The ANC thanked South Africans for braving the chilly weather to go and cast their votes.

Acting ANC spokesperson Dakota Legote said they are happy with the manner in which the elections were held.

"We congratulate the IEC for conducting the elections in a manner that upholds the integrity of the elections.

"Despite the challenges we are encouraged that any outstanding matters will be resolved by the party liaison committees and the IEC," Legote said.

The IEC noted that the electoral process allows for objections to be raised by political parties throughout the process.

These include instances where they believe a voter was ineligible to vote or has voted more than once.
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UPDATES:

African Union confirm that South African elections have
been conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Friday acknowledged the South African general elections as "peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible."

The elections were conducted "in a calm, peaceful and orderly manner" and afforded the people of South Africa the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights of choosing their leaders, the AU Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) said in a statement posted on the AU official website.

The South African Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) prepared and conducted the elections "in a professional and transparent manner and in accordance with the relevant laws governing elections in South Africa," the AUEOM said.

This came as a coalition of 35 smaller political parties said they were unhappy with the running of the elections which they said were marred by "double voting."

They threatened to go to court and demanded an election rerun.

The parties called on the IEC to appoint an independent auditor, not affiliated with the government, to examine the results, which put the ruling African National Congress well ahead of all other political parties.

Preliminary results showed that the ANC captured almost 58 percent of the votes, leaving far behind the second biggest party - the Democratic Alliance which garnerd more than 22 percent of the votes.

Despite concerns from some stakeholders about the competence of the IEC’s ad hoc staff at the local level, the AUEOM said the elections "proceeded generally well and within a conducive environment that ensured citizens exercised their right to vote."

However, the mission said it had noted the existence of a few isolated incidents where voting was disrupted.

South Africans went to the polls on Wednesday to elect their representatives for the National and Provincial Legislative Assemblies.

The elections will also determine who will be the next president.

This was the sixth consecutive election held since the introduction of multiparty democracy in 1994.

The AUEOM observed that arrangements put in place to ensure adequate security for the elections worked well.

However, it should be noted that the electoral process is ongoing and there are still important stages to be concluded before an overall and conclusive assessment can be provided, the AUEOM said.

"South African democracy is young compared to other countries in Africa.

However, it is among the advanced democracies on the continent," the mission concluded.

The IEC is set to announce final results on Saturday.
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South African elections body announces
vote audit following double voting allegations

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said on Thursday it will urgently conduct an audit of results and votes in a sample of voting stations to ascertain if double voting occurred in the just-concluded general elections.

The audit will cover a statistically representative sample of voting stations as well as all voting stations where complaints or allegations of double voting have been received, the IEC said.

The final number and selection of the sample will be determined in conjunction with expert statisticians, said the commission.

The audit will involve the capture of information showing the ID numbers of voters who cast votes at each voting station from the "zip-zip" scanners and completed ballot forms, according to the commission.

This data will then be cross-referenced and compared to identify any instances of multiple voting to help establish scientifically whether such instances were isolated or systemic and what the material impact is, if any, to the results, the commission said.

This came after two separate instances were brought to the attention of the IEC in which some voters allegedly cast more than one vote at different voting stations in the national and provincial elections that took place on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, South African voters headed to the polls to elect a new National Assembly and provincial legislatures in each province.

The elections will also determine who will become the next president.

The IEC earlier assured the nation of the overall integrity of the elections despite the alleged instances of double voting.

As required by law, the IEC has seven days to announce the results of the elections.

The IEC said it is confident the auditing will be completed in time to provide assurance of the integrity of the results within this period.

The commission said it will only announce the results when it is 100-percent confident in the integrity and legitimacy of those results.

The commission called on political parties, the media and all South Africans to show patience, calm and restraint as the process to ensure confidence is undertaken.

Also on Thursday, police arrested 20 suspects in three KwaZulu-Natal municipalities for "double voting."

It remains unknown about what political parties these suspects are affiliated with.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

South African electoral body probes double voting allegations

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Thursday said they are investigating allegations that double voting occurred in a sample of voting stations.

This follows the arrest of four voters in KwaZulu-Natal in connection with alleged double voting.

The IEC said they are encouraged by the arrest of the four, adding that any attempt to vote more than once leaves a clear footprint in electoral process and the suspects were tracked down using this information.

"We will urgently conduct an audit of results and votes cast in a sample of voting stations to ascertain if double voting occurred," said IEC Chief Electoral Officer Sly Mamabolo.

"The audit will cover a statistically representative sample of stations and those where complaints of double-voting were received.

"The process was endorsed by political parties in the party liaison committee today," he said.

Mamabolo allayed fears that the IEC will not release the results in time in line with the country’s Constitution.

"By law we have seven days in which to announce the election results and is confident this voting and results audit exercise will be completed in time to provide assurance of the integrity of the results within this period," he said.

The IEC is also investigating the effectiveness of the indelible ink marker pens supplied for the elections.

Mamabolo said the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research will do the investigations with the full cooperation of the supplier.

The IEC called for calm as they continue with their work.

"The Commission calls on political parties, the media and all South Africans to show patience, calm and restraint as the audit process to ensure confidence is undertaken," he said.

He said that they are going ahead with results capture and verification process of the results and that they will only announce results where it is 100 percent confident in the integrity and legitimate.

Trying to vote twice is a crime and electoral fraud which entails a jail term of about 10 years in South Africa.
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South African ruling party denies using foreigners to bolster votes

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Thursday denied allegations that it used foreign nationals to bolster votes for the party in the national and provincial elections.

The party was responding to claims by the Inkata Freedom Party (IFP) that the ANC hired taxis to transport foreign nationals to voting stations in KwaZulu-Natal Province.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi urged the IEC to investigate the allegations.

"We, therefore, take very seriously the rumors that the ANC is hiring Quantum taxis to transport foreign nationals to Zululand to bolster votes," Buthelezi said.

The ANC accused the IFP of being "irresponsible" by making such allegations, particularly in sensitive matters concerning the KwaZulu-Natal province which has experienced sporadic xenophobia attacks in the past couple of years.

In a province prone to xenophobic violence like KwaZulu-Natal, the IFP ought to be more careful, ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said.

"So when you make such allegations you are creating an environment that is very hostile," Simelane-Zulu said.

"It’s impossible for foreign nationals to vote in South Africa," said Simelane-Zulu.

On Wednesday, South African voters headed to the polls to elect a new National Assembly and provincial legislatures in each province.

The elections will also determine who will become the next president.

Also on Thursday, police arrested 19 suspects in three KwaZulu-Natal municipalities for "double voting."

IEC officials said police made the swift arrests following reports that some voters allegedly were able to cast more than one vote at different voting stations.

The IEC said it will urgently conduct an audit of results and votes cast in a sample of voting stations to ascertain if double voting occurred.
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Different election scenario reveals changing political landscape in South Africa

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africans headed to the polls on Wednesday for the sixth democratic elections which revealed changing political landscape in the country since the end of apartheid in 1994.

The elections went on peacefully without snags, indicating that South Africa has matured as a democracy.

In the elections, a new National Assembly and provincial legislatures in each province will be elected.

The elections, the sixth since the end of apartheid in 1994, will also determine who will become the next president.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was leading the ruling African National Congress (ANC) which is attempting to retain its majority status and secure Ramaphosa a full term in office as president.

Ramaphosa took over after his predecessor Jacob Zuma resigned in February 2018.

Casting his vote in Soweto, Johannesburg, Ramaphosa said the elections reminded people of the 1994 elections which led to the demise of apartheid.

"The response of our people to voting is amazing," the president said.

"The nation and our people are energized to cast their vote and they can see that with their vote, they are heralding a new dawn.

A new beginning.

A period of renewal."

A total of 48 political entities were contesting in the elections, a three-fold increase, compared with the previous elections.

But only three parties - the ANC, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) - are seen as the major forces that can shape the political landscape in the country.

The elections are expected to be the most contested as the ANC, which has remained dominant since 1994, faces growing rivalry from the DA and the EFF.

The ANC could garner 53 percent of the national vote, compared with 62 percent it received in the 2014 elections, according to the pre-election poll undertaken by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR).

The DA was expected to receive 24 percent of the vote, up from the 22.23 percent it received in the previous elections, while the EFF 14 percent, up from 6.35 percent.

The poll found that the ANC support among black voters had declined, with the DA enjoying a marginal spike.

As the ANC eyes vicitory nationwide, the focus of attention is now on the Western Cape, the only province that has been controlled by the DA. The ANC has maintained a tight grip of the other eight provinces.

The SAIRR survey predicted that the DA would keep control of the Western Cape despite the ANC’s aggressive moves to wrest control of the province.

However, with significant shifts in the ANC strategy and also with cracks emerging in the DA, there are indications that the DA has lost some support in the colored community in the Western Cape, long considered a mainstay of the party’s support base, particularly in impoverished townships where poor service delivery has given rise to frequent protests.

ANC Western Cape regional secretary Faiez Jacob told Xinhua that he was heartened that there could be a turnaround in the province.

"With a few hours to go, even with the challenges of the weather, we are very upbeat (about the election result)," he said.

Jacobs predicted a change of leadership in the province, saying the ANC had made entry into areas that were formerly hostile, notably because the DA failed to deliver service in the areas.

"We as the ANC have embraced all the people of the Western Cape, and we are now particularly embraced across the Cape Flats (an impoverished township in Cape Town), where we are seen as a credible alternative," he stated.

He said the new mood on the ground in the province was the result of the ANC going to the ground, responding to the issues of the people and also supporting the organic leadership at the base.

"There is now a greater resonance for the ANC as we have allowed local leaders on the ground to assume leadership," Jocob stated.

DA supporter Thembelani Mazitshana said however that the DA would retain the province, "because we embrace diversity and we are a home for all of South Africans."

             

 

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