South Africa election 2019
South Africans rarely see President Cyril Ramaphosa dancing.
By Pumza Fihlani
BBC News, Johannesburg
BBC News, Johannesburg
Unsurprisingly the top three parties so far are the ANC, the DA and the EFF.
But the party to watch is the ANC - not least because its support has dwindled in the last few years amid corruption scandals.
After sacking its beleaguered leader Jacob Zuma just under two years ago, the new man in charge, Cyril Ramaphosa, went on an anti-corruption campaign.
He called this a "new dawn" for one of Africa's oldest liberation movement. But did it work?
The numbers will help answer that. Under former President Zuma, the party won by 62% in the last election - for some that's the magic number to beat.
That will be a difficult ask this time around for the hugely divided party. Mr Ramaphosa needs a strong mandate - only then can he hope to effect real renewal within the party.
Then there is the DA, which increased its support base in the last election from 17% to 22% but will be hoping to win more provinces this time around - and make inroads, particularly in areas where the ANC had previously been dominant.
Then there is the EFF, which needs to show that it can continue to grow its support base.
In terms of South Africa's provinces, the prize everyone is vying for is Gauteng - the economic hub of the country. Control that and you pretty much control the whole country.
This will also be an indication of whether Mr Ramaphosa's message to business has been effective.
BBC News, Johannesburg
Vote counting continues in South Africa where Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) expects to have counted 90% of the result by late on Thursday evening.
At the Results Operation Centre, political parties are keeping a close eye on the results as they trickle in. Here are the numbers as they stand:Copyright: .
This was a peaceful election but they want to be sure that it was fair
Officials have assured the country that they are investigating concerns about "double voting" raised by some opposition parties.
The IEC has said while a handful of people may have been able to vote at more than one station on Wednesday, various checks applied when authenticating the result will root out any fraud.
One of these is the ID number, which should only appear once for each voter - any duplicates will be weeded out.
Meanwhile, these polls saw the lowest voter turnout since 1994, when Nelson Mandela was elected as the country's first black president, raising questions around voter apathy - uncharted territory for this young democracy.
Opposition parties in South Africa have raised concerns about possible voter fraud in Wednesday's general election, local media reports say.
Local daily TimesLive says the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA) raised 600 concerns with the electoral agency, claiming double voting was the most pressing issue.
The newspaper says the Economic Freedom Fighters also submitted a letter to the electoral commission, raising their concerns.
However, the governing African National Congress (ANC) dismissed the claims as "hullabaloo", saying voter fraud could be easily detected if it took place.
Mike Moriarty of the DA said the ink used to mark voters' thumbs was removable and this could allow people to vote twice.
“We have raised concerns about possible fraud,” he said, adding that many machines to scan voters' IDs at polling stations were not working.
The small Congress of the People (Cope) party raised similar concerns.
One of its MPs, Deidre Carter, said she could have voted at five polling stations if she wanted to.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said it was investigating two cases of people being able to cast more their one vote at different polling stations.
The IEC said it viewed the allegations in a serious light, and had launched an investigation.
"Fortunately, the election process contains a number of checks and safeguards which together serve to protect the integrity of the process," it added.
More than a third of votes have now been counted in South Africa's general election.
Of those the governing ANC has secured a share of almost 56%, putting it well ahead of the Democratic Alliance's 25% and the Economic Freedom Fighters' 9%.
Data coming in from South Africa's electoral commission also indicated that voter turnout this time around has been the lowest since South Africa became a multi-ethnic democracy in 1994, as the BBC's Pumza Fihlani reports:
"It's been hovering at just over 70% in previous national votes. About 73.41% cast their ballots in 2014. What does this decline tell us, voter apathy?"
BBC Radio 5 LiveCopyright: Reuters
Polls have shut in South Africa's elections, which are being seen as a test for the ruling ANC party.
The BBC's Matthew Davies is in Johannesburg, he explained one of the key election issues.
"The real thing here is unemployment. Unemployment is at 27%, but if you are under 34 it is over 50%.
"Young people here don't tend to get their first formal job until they are 30.
Any new administration will have to tackle that problem, he said.
BBC Africa, Johannesburg
It is a special day for millions South Africans who voted in the sixth democratic election since the end of apartheid.
But for me it has been particularly special because I voted with my 18-year-old son Kgosietsile.
The exercise brought back so many memories.
I thought about the year I turned 18 - when black people were not allowed to vote because of white-minority rule.
I also thought about the day I voted for the first time back in 1994 – when we voted Nelson Mandela into power.
I asked Kgosi how it felt to be part of the democratic revolution.
He said: ”You know Dad, it’s very exciting, as a first-time voter, there’s this euphoria around you that makes you feel like you’re making a difference.”Copyright: BBC
BBC News, SowetoCopyright: Getty Images
This is the South Africa’s sixth democratic election – and only 25 years since black people were allowed to vote.
The political leaders have cast their ballots and they are hoping, that the nearly 27 million people who registered in this vote will do the same.
Voting has been proceeding smoothly in most parts of the country but there were some delays in the opening of polling stations in some areas.
A record 48 parties are contesting these elections but there are three main parties to watch, the governing African National Congress (ANC), the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
All have had their fair share of scandals in recent times but all these parties say they are the answer to South Africa’s future.
But for many South Africa the time of making promises has passed – now they want results.
There are very real and pressing needs here – economic growth is slow – millions are without jobs, this remains a hugely unequal society.
BBC Africa, JohannesburgCopyright: BBC
For most of the day the lines here at the polling station in the suburb of Norwood in the South African city of Johannesburg have been relatively long.
People have braved the winter chill and some rain to vote in what is being seen here as one of the most hotly contested polls since the first democratic elections 25 years ago.Copyright: BBC
The ballot paper is half a metre long, filled with new political parties including a former residence association, and a pro-local content media group. To some it shows how entrenched democracy is here, to others it's evidence of discontent with the main political parties.
Two young women in their twenties, who are voting for the first time, told me they don’t believe promises made by any of the parties especially the promise to create jobs. They say they are voting out of a sense of obligation.
Another man tells me he is happy with the leaders of the three major parties, it's the best it has ever been, he said.
The location of Norwood polling station reflects some of the key electoral issues, especially the economic inequality that South Africa has come to be known for.
On one side is Houghton estate with its swanky, expensive mansions cloistered in gated communities. It is where Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratically elected president, lived after his release from 27 years in prison.
On the other side are the overcrowded suburbs of Yeoville and Hillbrow, with their grinding poverty and high crime rates. They are also home to migrants from neighbouring countries seeking a better life.
Some of the people who live here feel let down by the governing African National Congress (ANC) since it took power in 1994. The party has reduced poverty, especially amongst the black majority, but not enough in the eyes of some.
Youth unemployment stands at 54% - a truly staggering figure.
The results will show whether President Cyril Ramaphosa, a rich businessman in his own right, has managed to connect with the poor to convince them that his policies on job creation and rooting out corruption will end the rot his predecessor entrenched.
People will also be interested in the gains and losses made by the main opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA), led by Mmusi Mainane, and Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the country's third largest party.
South African journalist Alex Mitchley has tweeted this scene from outside the Union Buildings in the capital Pretoria:
The symbolic inauguration is one of many protests people from the Khoisan community who say they are being marginalised in South Africa.
The Khoisan are South Africa's oldest inhabitants and some argue that the rock paintings that dot the country serve as the Khoisan's title deeds.
History has been hard on them - they were dispossessed by the colonialists and oppressed under white-minority rule.
Under apartheid, they were classified as "coloured" or mixed race, and their indigenous languages and traditions were lost as they were forced to assimilate.
What people search on Google can give a little insight into what a nation is thinking.
So journalist Rachel Irvine has tweeted the top five searches from Google to give us some clue about what is going through voters' minds on the day of the election in South Africa:
- South Africa elections 2019
- Voting station near me
- Can I vote anywhere
- Mmusi Maimane
ACDP stands for the African Christian Democratic Party. It's one of a record 48 parties that are contesting nationally.
Among these parties are a lot known by TLAs - three-letter acronyms.
The main TLAs are the ANC (the African National Congress, currently the governing party) and the EFF (the Economic Freedom Fighters, the third-largest party).
The leading opposition party keeps it to two letters, DA, for Democratic Alliance.
Their leader is Mmusi Maimane, who is the fourth of the top Google searches today.
Read more about him and the two other main leaders on the BBC news website:
The Wikipedia page for the South African election was changed on Wednesday morning by someone expressing their displeasure at the policies of some the parties contesting in the country's sixth national polls since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.
The protester changed the list of national parties to "national criminals" with the subheading "the following list of parties intending to strip you of all your money and keep you poor".
They listed almost every party with the word "criminal" somewhere in their name.
So the Azanian People's Organisation was changed to "Azanian People's Criminals" and Women Forward was changed to "Women Criminals".
Out of the 48 parties competing in Wednesday's election, the only parties that escaped the rebranding were the Congress of the People, the Democratic Alliance, the Free Democrats, the Front National, Good, the Land Party, the National People's Front, the Patriotic Alliance and the People's Revolutionary Movement.
The heading "Electoral system" was also changed to "rigged electoral system":Copyright: BBC
But eagle-eyed editors at Wikipedia quickly noticed and removed the amendments.