With just under 10% of the vote counted in Gauteng, South Africa’s economic heartland and one of the expected battleground provinces, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was leading with over 120 000 votes, or just over 53% of the vote counted.
By 6:30am on Thursday, the main challengers, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had tallied just under 60 000 and just over 30 000 votes, respectively.
The next best party was the Freedom Front Plus with just under 10 000 votes, while the rest trailed in even further behind with less than a percent of the vote each.
Gauteng is SA’s richest province, contributing over a third of the national Gross Domestic Product while it is also the most populous, home to a staggering 14 million people.
Elsewhere around the country, in the hotly contested Western Cape, the DA – the governing party in the province – was leading with 285 000 votes, followed by the ANC with just under 125 000 and the GOOD party of Patricia de Lille – the former DA mayor of Cape Town – third at 17 000 votes counted.
Nationally the ANC was living up to its title of ruling party.
By 06h30, the party had just over a million votes, followed by the DA with 505 550 and the EFF at 159 996.
While votes in many big districts are outstanding the voting trends seem to follow the current status quo in South African politics as these parties are currently the top three parties represented in the National Assembly in terms of seats.
The big surprise was the Freedom Front Plus which at this early stage had 69 623 votes – a strong showing and if the trend continues the party could see more MPs representing it in Parliament.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) support among the electorate stood at 30 616 while the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) had 22 315 votes cast in their favour.
New Kid on the block, GOOD, was seventh on the board.