Voting stations officially closed with results expected after midnight.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Voting stations have officially closed across SA.
Stations were open until 9pm, although the IEC confirmed on Monday night that those who were in the line at their voting station at the closing time would still be allowed to vote.
There was also the potential that - on a "case-by-case basis", the IEC said - some voting stations would be allowed to stay open later, depending on the circumstances. This included protests or other glitches earlier in the day affecting smooth running of the stations.
The first results from this year’s local government elections will be known in the next few hours.
The IEC’s Nomsa Masuku said: "After voting stations close at 9pm, and voters in the queues have voted, counting will begin. The first results are expected after midnight."
The vote counting process involves the following:
- All ballot boxes allocated to a voting station are accounted for. Sealed ballot boxes are opened and emptied.
- Each ballot paper is unfolded and checked for the Electoral Commission security stamp. Ballots without stamps are not counted.
- All ballot papers are grouped according to colours representing the type of election (District, Local/Metro and Ward). The ballots are sorted into piles according to votes for each party and each ward candidate.
- The ballots are counted and bundled into packs of 100. The results are counted for each party or candidate.
- The results for the various parties or candidates are reconciled against the number of ballots received and the total number of ballots cast at that voting station.
- Results slips are signed by the counting officer, independent ward candidate agents and party agents. A copy of the results slip is posted on the door of each voting station. The other copy is transported to the local Electoral Commission office where it is scanned and captured in the results system. The results are also verified by independent external auditors.
- The results centres are there for political party representatives and independents to monitor the voting, counting and results process. Parties have the opportunity to raise objections to any alleged irregularities. Other stakeholders present include the media and observers.
- The final results and seat allocation for Metro and Local Councils are announced by the Commission within seven days of the election. District Councils are formed later once the local councils have been constituted and have elected representatives to the District Council.
These are the sixth municipal election held in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.
Since 1994, domestic and international stakeholders have viewed all of South Africa’s elections as free and fair.
At an earlier briefing today, the IEC announced that over 8 million South Africans had cast their votes across the country’s 23 148 voting stations as at 5pm.
Meanwhile an IEC official in Botlokwa has been fired with immediate effect after he apparently agreed with various political party agents to open a ballot box to assist a voter who felt he did not vote properly.
IEC provincial electoral operations manager Itumeleng Seaneo said despite an agreement with party agents, the presiding officer grossly violated the rules, regulations and laws that govern the election process. He said the ballot box was immediately quarantined to ensure its integrity.