Durban - The ANC looked set to retain KwaZulu-Natal and the country today as early results from the Independent Electoral Commission showed ruling taking the lead in all provinces - except the Western Cape where the DA was in a commanding position.
By midday, the ANC had secured more than 57.6% of the vote in KZN with the IFP regaining the ground it lost to the NFP with around 17% of the vote. The DA had secured around 11.3% of the vote in the province and the EFF 8.56 at the time of publishing.
The national vote painted a similar picture this morning with the ANC securing 55.9% of the counted votes, the DA 24.7% and the EFF 8.9%.
But it was the strong showing from the FF+ that caught many analysts off guard with figures showing the party had secured nearly 3% of the vote while the IFP was trailing in fifth place with 1.8% of the national vote.
The Western Cape was the only province that the ANC was not in control of today with preliminary results showing the DA with over 52.5% of the vote and the ANC with 30.9%.
IFP MP, Narend Singh said that while it was too early to tell, the party was pleased with its progress it made in KZN.
He said that despite speculation that party leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi was going to retire, he was expected back in the party benches in parliament after the election.
"He will return to parliament as the leader of the party, he has to return as it has always been that the leader on your list comes into parliament ... It is up to him to decide what he does after he gets there, he said.
The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has said it was "too early" to tell if the election was free and fair.
This as allegations of double voting and irregularities at various voting stations emerged on Thursday.
"There were very few incidents of intolerance as we know that in this province there can be (political) intolerance but this is the best election ever we had in this province," he said.
Mncwango, however, raised a concern with the IEC's handling of the election saying it was too early to say whether this election was fair and free.
"There have been a lot of discrepancies from the IEC side. We can name a few but we have lodged a complaint with the IEC. We are going to wait for us to tell us what is their final decision... As the DA we have done our part and what we see currently (with the results) it is promising because we are actually getting votes in areas, where we never had voted before. These were areas where the ANC and IFP were strong," he said.
In a statement on Thursday, the IEC said that it was taking seriously the allegations of two potential instances of double voting.
"The Electoral Commission would like to assure voters and all stakeholders of the overall integrity of the electoral process Two separate instances have been brought to the attention of the Electoral Commission over the past few hours in which it is alleged voters were able to cast more than one vote at different voting stations," the statement said.
"The commission views these allegations in the most serious light and has launched investigations into these incidents. Fortunately, the election process contains a number of checks and safeguards which together serve to protect the integrity of the process".