#Elections2014: Voting stations close

Millions of people joined queues across South Africa to cast their ballots.

Scores of people queue up to cast their votes at the Orlando West High in Soweto on 7 May 2014. Picture: Marisa Oosthuizen/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Polling stations officially closed on Wednesday but there are still a number of people anxiously queuing to make their mark.

Millions of people joined queues across South Africa to cast their ballots.

From the 'hot spots' of Bekkersdal and Marikana, to quiet suburbs in Johannesburg and Pretoria, people flocked to polling stations since early this morning.

A few issues were reported, including delays in voting, problems at Home Affairs offices and some tense moments.

But Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said no major incidents were reported.

At the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)'s national Results Operations Centre in Pretoria, parties are getting ready for a long night of counting.

There has been a festive atmosphere at the centre and parties are due to start gazing at the giant blue computer board after results begin to be tallied.

There is a lot of excitement among IEC officials as first results are expected to start trickling in shortly.

AgangSA leader Mamphela Ramphele said she is proud of her party and how far it has come.

"We are excited about the fact that we have walked a journey to this point. We have seen excited citizens in the polling stations we have visited."

IEC Chairperson Pansy Tlakula earlier said the biggest challenge that arose during the elections is the high voter turnout across the country.

"The most pressing challenge we are facing at the moment is an extremely high voter turnout, especially in urban areas where long queues continue to be experienced."

She said the voting process went smoothly at all 22,263 voting stations across South Africa.


Despite more than 3,000 people registered to vote in Ward 72 of the Ekurhuleni municipality, which the Gugulethu informal settlement falls under, only 450 people cast their ballots at one of only two polling stations.

Most people who've voted in the informal settlement are senior citizens.

Police have dispersed a large group of protesters this evening.

Earlier this week, angry residents who were protesting against the lack of government services, rendered the informal settlement a no-go area for IEC officials.

Officials are counting ballots and collating all voting information as the polling station, which opened more than four hours late, closed for the day.


Voting wrapped up in Bekkersdal on Gauteng's West Rand without any incidents this evening but police are maintaining a heavy presence.

Police vans and army trucks are parked at the site where three voting stations were torched last night and frequent patrols are continuing in the community.

The groups of young people who had gathered on street corners have also now dispersed.

At the local taverns, dozens of people wearing their political party t-shirts have started the post-election celebrations.

Although the final results won't be known until this weekend , ANC supporters in the area say they've already started the festivities to celebrate their victory.


In the North West, Mothutlung residents are waiting outside voting stations, saying they don't want to miss the opportunity to vote.

Although the cut-off time has passed, those who were in the queue by 8:35pm will still be allowed to cast their vote.

Resident Jack Raoleka decided to vote at the eleventh hour, but said he doubts his vote will make a difference.

Other residents are proudly showing off their ink-marked thumbs, saying they have voted for change in the memory of those who died in the fatal water protest in the area in January.

Marikana and Mothutlung are areas where tensions could've flared but young and old peacefully participated in the voting process.

ANC North West Chair Supra Mahumapelo applauded the people of Marikana for voting today regardless of the challenges they are facing.

"This is a demonstration that people have full confidence in the democratic process."

Some people say they voted against the ANC-led government to give another party the power to bring change to their province.


Voting stations in the Western Cape have also closed and attention has also turned to the counting processes at the provincial results centres.

Political party representatives, IEC staff and members of the media are getting settled in at the centre.

The Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF)'s Western Cape premier candidate Nazier Paulsen has arrived at the centre after spending the day visiting various voting stations.

"Wherever I have gone I have seen a huge turnout and long queues, which is good for our democracy."

The centre is expected to become even busier over the next 24 hours.