However, early results also indicated that the Democratic Alliance (DA) was leading the polls with 52 per cent of votes in the critical Tshwane Metropolitan with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) tailing at just above 30 per cent of the counted votes.
Traditionally an ANC stronghold, the metropolitan is home to the capital city of the young democracy and the Union Buildings – the official seat of the South African government.
The DA, largely regarded as a centrist party, has been the governing party in the Western Cape since 2009. The opposition party could retain its stronghold in the province, as early inconclusive tallies suggest.
“It’s too early to make predictions of the final outcome as only 7.5 million votes have been counted out of over 25 million registered voters as of midday Thursday,” Independent Electoral Commission IEC chairperson, Pansy Tlakula told media in Pretoria at the IEC centre.
Tlakula added that on the counted districts, over 70 per cent turnout had been recorded noting that significant movement was expected as the day unfolds.
The ruling party, ANC, is tipped to win the overall votes but not enough to get its much anticipated two-thirds majority.
(WATCH VIDEO: ANC not to come first in every province: Investec)
The ANC’s possible failure to gunner the required majority that would give them leverage to change the constitution will see the incumbent president Jacob Zuma’s support within the party waning.
The vibrant Economic Freedom Fighters formed last July by expelled ANC youth leader, Julius Malema, is tipped to be a distant third.
Prominent academic and anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang South Africa party has shown early upsets that is likely to frustrate its alleged middle class constituency.
At the time of writing 63 per cent of total ballots casts in the Eastern Cape had been counted, 41 per cent in Free State, 18 per cent in Gauteng, 72 per cent in Mpumalanga and 89 per cent in the Northern Cape.
Tlakula noted that incidences of violence and vote tempering had been registered in some voting districts such as Alexandra and a polling station in Tzaneen in Limpopo province.
“In Tzaneen a polling station was ambushed with even the police on duty being attacked. Two people have been arrested with regards to the issue,” noted Tlakula.
“There were also two separate shootings in Kwa-Zulu Natal province with one person being killed. A ballot box containing 16 ballots was also found in the East Rand area in Springs with another ballot box with counted votes in Brakpan.”
Tlakula was adamant that these ‘isolated’ incidences would not discredit the entire election process.
(WATCH VIDEO: The readiness of S.Africa's elections)
“These remain isolated incidences which we are taking seriously though we can all agree that the process is going extremely well.”
At the time of writing, the ANC was holding a 62.37 per cent lead followed by the DA at 23.63 per cent and the EFF at 4.63 per cent.
BY TRUST MATSILELE