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SA Elections: voters express mixed reactions to early counts

People queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Johannesburg. 29/05/2024   -  
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Denis Farrell/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

South Africa

South Africans in Cape Town gave mixed reactions on Thursday to early election results which show the long-ruling African National Congress below 50% in the vote.

Very early counts put the ANC at just over 42%. With only just over 16% of votes counted and declared, it was only a partial picture after Wednesday's election.

If the ANC is denied a majority, it would be the first time since they swept to power under Nelson Mandela at the end of apartheid in 1994.

Mixed reactions

"Our political system as it is, it’s not okay, in a sense that it does not serve its people," said Cape Town resident Khensani Godase. "But then it serves those who are already in power and that is my perspective on it."

The results that had been declared were from less than 4,000 of the more than 23,000 polling stations across the nine provinces that make up South Africa and there was a long way to go in the counting process.

South Africans may have to wait days until the final results of the vote are known.

"What I expect from the election is that ANC (African National Congress) maintains national power and I feel that DA (Democratic Alliance) will maintain provincial power here in the Western Cape," said another resident Dale Titus.

A referendum on ANC rule

The electoral commission was projecting a 70% voter turnout in this election, up from the 66% in the last national election in 2019. The ANC won 57.5% of the vote in that last election, its worst performance to date.

This election was seen as a direct referendum on the unbroken three-decade rule of the ANC, which freed South Africa from the oppressive, racist apartheid regime in the famous all-race vote of 1994 but has seen a steady decrease in its popularity over the last 20 years.

"I don’t think much will change. I just think politicians are all there for themselves basically. I don’t think much will change," said resident Titus.

Nearly 28 million people out of South Africa's population of 62 million were registered to vote.

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