Pretoria - The ruling African National Congress (ANC) had seemingly wrapped up victories in six of South Africa's nine provinces by Friday morning.

At 6am on Friday, the ANC had polled 57% of the national vote, almost triple that of its nearest challenger the Democratic Alliance (DA) on 21%. Around 12 million votes had been counted, of which almost 6,8 million had gone to the ANC.

The party's dominance at the polls was even more evident in some of the key provinces, as it had 75% of the counted votes in Limpopo, a fraction under 70% in Mpumalanga, 68% in the Eastern Cape, 62% in the Free State and the North West, while the Northern Cape matched the national figure at 57%.

In the Western Cape, the only one of the nine provinces where the ANC is not in power, the party was polling at 29%, significantly behind the DA which had almost 55% of the vote.

However, all eyes will be on the key provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal where by early Friday morning the ANC held only a slim majority in each.

In Gauteng, South Africa's economic heartland as well as its most populous province, the party had obtained 1.1 million votes, which accounted for 50.6% of the votes tallied.

In this province, the ANC was followed by its two main political rivals, the DA with just over 600,000 votes, or 27%, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with 312 000 votes, or 14% of the vote. In the 2014 elections the ANC had garnered 53.5% of the vote in the province.

In KwaZulu-Natal, a traditional ANC stronghold, the ANC was polling at just over 53% of the votes tallied, with just over million votes. In the 2014 general elections, the ANC had won the province with 64.5% of the vote. By early Friday morning, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the DA were running neck and neck in a bid to become the official opposition in the province, with 17% and 15% of the vote respectively.

African News Agency/ANA