Streets erupt with joy at ANC EC win

DA comes in second, EFF trails third, while UDM loses much ground

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and motorists celebrate in Mthatha, as votes are counted.
Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and motorists celebrate in Mthatha, as votes are counted.
Image: Lulamile Feni

The ANC has once again convincingly won in the Eastern Cape.

While official results are still to be announced, and despite complaints of electoral fraud and other issues, by yesterday it was clear the party that has ruled the country since the 1994 democratic elections, had asserted itself strongly in its Eastern Cape heartland.

The party was winning more than 69% of the Eastern Cape vote at the time of going to press at 6pm on Thursday.

Celebrations began in earnest when it became clear that the party’s lead was unassailable.

Provincial ANC leader Oscar Mabuyane, watching the results pouring into the IEC’s provincial results operations centre at the East London International Convention Centre, was jubilant.

He said: "We are happy! We give due recognition to our volunteers and the bravery shown by our people yesterday. It was quite humbling; the way they showed their loyalty to the ANC.

“The ANC must rise to the occasion and deal with issues affecting the people.”

In Mthatha ANC supporters erupted with wild celebration.

Motorcycles led a cavalcade from Ultra City into and around the city and to the ANC OR Tambo regional offices.

ANC members, some on motorbikes, others in cars and some of foot celebrate ANC winning the vote in the Eastern Cape on the streets of Mthatha.
ANC members, some on motorbikes, others in cars and some of foot celebrate ANC winning the vote in the Eastern Cape on the streets of Mthatha.
Image: Lulamile Feni

Hooters blared, music blasted, bikes revved and ANC colours fluttered. Many supporters were on foot.

The popular communications minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, stood out amid the torrent of celebratory oration.

A smaller motorcade set off to Mqanduli, gathering leaders and supporters along the way.

Meanwhile quiet fell on the Mthatha offices of the UDM and DA.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said: “While we are still waiting for the official announcement on the results, we were celebrating what we heard from our party agents, that our people had voted for the ANC in large numbers. Of course we are concerned with the turnout but we said, ‘let us go out there and thank all those who have voted for us’.”

At 6pm, the DA had 15.8% of the vote in the province, with the EFF trailing in third with 7.4%. The EFF’s premier candidate, Yazini Tetyana, said the party was not happy with voter turnout in the province, but still hoped to garner 200,000 votes in the province.

Voting results last night indicated the ANC was set to easily acquire a majority of votes cast nationally, followed by the DA which was winning more than a fifth of the vote and the EFF which hovered at the 10% mark.

The aftermath of the elections has been overshadowed by concerns over “double voting”, and there is now a possibility that the final results will not be announced on Saturday as expected.

On Thursday afternoon, the IEC said it would be conducting an urgent audit of results and votes in a sample of voting stations to see whether double voting had occurred.

This came at the request of a number of political parties which raised concerns about cases reported to them.

An Independent Electoral Officer (IEC) opens a ballot box as counting begins at the Addington Primary School in Durban after voting ended at the sixth national general elections.
An Independent Electoral Officer (IEC) opens a ballot box as counting begins at the Addington Primary School in Durban after voting ended at the sixth national general elections.
Image: Rajesh Jantilal / AFP

The problem is related to the IEC's indelible ink used to mark voter’s thumbs, but which has been shown in some cases to be easily erased.

That made it possible for people to vote more than once, as the IEC’s scanners were not interlinked and could not detect attempts at duplicate voting.

About 20 people were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal for voting twice. They could now face charges of fraud.

In Buffalo City, the DA’s Kevin Mileham told the Dispatch that the party had been informed of “several” incidents of double voting.

“People were trying to vote as many times as possible. We have reported it to our provincial leadership and the IEC,” he said.

Julie Standworth, the IEC spokesperson in the Eastern Cape, did not know which stations were to be audited.

In a statement on Thursday afternoon, the IEC said the audit would cover a “statistically representative” sample of voting stations as well as all voting stations where complaints or allegations of double voting had been received.

The final number and selection of the sample would be determined in conjunction with expert statisticians.

The audit would involve the capture of information showing the ID numbers of voters who had cast votes at each voting station from the “zip-zip” scanners and completed VEC 4 (election) forms.

By law, the IEC has seven days in which to announce the results of the election. But it is confident the audit would be completed in time.

The IEC has also ordered an investigation into the effectiveness of the indelible ink marker pens.

African Transformation Movement provincial spokesperson Zama Ntshona said the fact that the IEC had to bring in independent experts, made it “highly unlikely” that the election results would be announced on Saturday.

Political analyst Ongama Mtimka said the IEC’s decision spoke either to the integrity of the institution, or would reveal that incidents of double voting had been isolated.

He said in the past the IEC had been effective in quickly responding to isolated incidents.

“I do believe there needs to be more vigilant training for IEC officials, even if the IEC mostly relies on temporary staff.

“They will also need to look at the scanners and whether any stored information can be retrieved. We know that there are some places that these devices didn’t work.”

Mtimka said the budget of the IEC had been reduced by R300m from the last general election in 2014.

“That might explain the quality of the ink,” he said.

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