#Elections2014: Clear lead for ANC
With around 63,79% of the national vote counted, the ruling party looks set to retain power.
PRETORIA - A clear picture is emerging of how parties are faring in South Africa's fifth democratic elections.
Nationally, the ANC continues to climb on the giant blue computer screens at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)'s National Results Operations Centre in Pretoria with 63,79 percent of the national vote counted so far.
The figures are still changing constantly but at around 3pm, the ANC was sitting on over six million votes, while the Democratic Alliance (DA) was sitting on around two million.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was in third place with around 485,000 ballots.
The governing party is looking strong in eight of the country's nine provinces.
The electoral body says it is very pleased with the speed at which ballots are being counted and results being audited.
But the IEC said there had been incidents of violence and allegations of irregularities.
The commission says provisional statistics show about 72 percent of eligible voters took part in the elections but there are still some areas where counting hasn't started due to protests.
IEC Chairperson Pansy Tlakula said there have been several reports of people having been shot, but said these were isolated incidents and didn't reflect the national pattern.
She said there was a shooting at one of the polling stations in KwaZulu-Natal where one person was killed and in Johannesburg, tensions were flaring between rival parties in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg.
"We have been informed of community protest action in Alexandra in Johannesburg, which may be threatening election staff and party agents."
She also confirmed they have only received one complaint about irregularities.
It was lodged by the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP).
Tlakula says some special votes were found alongside a road near Springs on Gauteng's East Rand.
"A ballot box containing special votes was found by police, apparently alongside a road in Springs."
She said police have been deployed to troubled areas but didn't believe the credibility of the polls would be compromised.
The atmosphere has grown more festive at the results centre over the last couple of hours.
Visitors are being led through the results centre while political party leaders have been chatting and joking, keeping an eye on the leader board.
Analysis has been taking place behind the scenes and some of the most interesting conversations can be heard on the couches or in the restaurant.
The IEC has praised political parties for getting along so well while waiting for the final results.
While the IEC says it expects to have 90 percent of the votes counted by this evening, there is still a fairly long road ahead.
Some political parties say they are disappointed by the numbers that are reflecting so far, because they had anticipated better results.
The ANC is still the leader of the pack in Gauteng.
The IEC results centre in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, is a hive of activity as party representatives stream in to assess their progress.
Auditors and election officials are hard at work capturing results from the province.
IEC Chief Electoral Officer Mosotho Moepya said not all the overseas ballots had been received and counting hadn't been completed.
He said counting has been completed in most of the smaller municipalities in Gauteng.
"They have completed quite a number of the smaller municipalities and they are now going to be working on the metropolitan areas."
He said things are progressing smoothly but it's too early to say whether the process has been free and fair.
The IEC's Masego Shiburi says the IEC expects the municipal results to be finalised later on Thursday.
The DA has secured itself a comfortable lead in the Western Cape, leading the race with more than one million votes already in the bag.
Meanwhile, the ANC has surpassed the 500,000 vote mark coming in second with 31,8 percent.
The EFF, which is in third place, says it is very happy with its position.
The party's Nazier Paulsen says 1,9 percent is not bad for a party which has only been in existence for a short time.
The ACDP has just surpassed the one percent mark, standing at 1,04 percent.