General

South Africa: Vote counting underway

PRETORIA, All eyes have now turned to the critical process of counting votes in South Africa's 2019 National and Provincial Elections.

Voting stations across South Africa closed at 9pm on Wednesday in the sixth democratic elections.

The Electoral Commission (IEC) said it is pleased with what it described as the smooth progress of voting, despite isolated incidents where voting operations were adversely affected by inclement weather, community unrest, power outages and some logistical challenges.

Strong thunderstorms were reported in the early evening in the Free State, where 16 temporary voting stations in Manguang were blown down by strong winds and where heavy rain affected the conditions underfoot.

In Nelson Mandela Bay and Craddock in the Eastern Cape, heavy rain and winds also affected operations in more than 30 temporary voting stations, the IEC said in a statement shortly after the closure of voting stations on Election Day.

In a number of areas, voting after dark was affected by power outages, including in KwaZulu-Natal (specifically Umlazi), Limpopo (Vuwani and Giyani) and Gauteng (parts of Johannesburg).

The power outages were as a result of cable theft, weather related outages and other unscheduled interruptions.

The Electoral Commission joined forces with power utility Eskom and local municipalities to rapidly restore power in affected areas.

Voting stations have also been equipped with some emergency LED lighting and lighting provided by the COGTA [Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs] as back-up, said the IEC.

Counting of votes is done within the voting station in front of political party representatives, known as party agents and independent observers.

Source: Nam News Network