Elections: Most votes cast since dawn of democracy

"We remain on track to complete the count, capture and audit results for these elections in good time," chief electoral officer Mosotho Moepya told reporters at the IEC's results centre in Pretoria.

"We remain on track to record the highest total number of votes cast for an election in SA's 20-year history of democracy."

He said 12.62 million votes had been captured on the result system by 6pm.

Over 18 million votes were expected to have been cast in this national election.

"This will exceed the 17.9 million votes cast in 2009 and the 15.5 million in 2004."

He said counting had been completed in the Northern Cape.

In the Western Cape 94 percent of votes had been counted, 83 percent in North West, 99 percent in Mpumalanga, 79 percent in KwaZulu-Natal, 43 percent in Gauteng, 79 percent in Limpopo, 64 percent in the Free State, and 87 percent in the Eastern Cape.

Spoilt papers amounted to 1.37 percent of the captured and audited votes.

The IEC called on South Africans not to be alarmed by reports of ballot boxes and papers being found in different areas, as they did not affect results.

"Upon conclusion of voting, ballots are counted in front of party agents and results determined before they are put on a result slip which is signed," deputy chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo told reporters.

"If a ballot box is mislaid, it does not impact on regularity of counting at voting stations."

Throughout the day there were reports of ballot boxes being found in Alexandra and Diepsloot in Johannesburg, and ballot papers in Pretoria.

South Africa's fifth all-race election has seen the highest number of votes cast in the country's democratic history, the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) said on Thursday.

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