Pictures of dumped ballot papers and ballot boxes have been posted on social media, despite the IEC saying they have had no reports of such incidents.

Pretoria - Pictures of dumped ballots have spread quickly across social media but just before 7pm on Thursday evening the IEC has said that they had heard no reports of the issue. Boxes of dumped ballots were found this afternoon in Alexandra and Diepsloot in Johannesburg, as well as Lynnwood in Pretoria. The photos of the discovered ballots were retweeted by political party leaders including Helen Zille and Ramphele Mamphele.

The IEC’s chief electoral officer Mosotho Moepya said that the discovery of ballots didn’t equate to an irregularity. He said ballots were counted in front of party officials from all involved parties at the voting station. Those party representatives then signed the ballot slip to confirm the number of votes counted for their party before the slip was taken to a local counting centre. “We don’t encourage people to mislay ballots but they don’t impact the count at the voting station,” he said. He said that ballots could have been stolen from where they were stored, as had apparently happened in one voting station this morning.

Moepya said that so far they had received formal objections from two political parties over the election process. “The fact that there is an objection does not amount to an irregularity,” he said. The IEC said that electronic voting was on the cards for the next election, but that it was a long process to consult all stakeholders.

Moepya said that as of 6pm this evening 70 percent of the votes had been counted. He said that 12.6 million votes had been counted, and that they expected the final tally to be 17.9million votes. This would be the largest vote count seen in a democratic South Africa.

Gauteng remains the province lagging in the vote count with only 43 percent of its votes having been counted and audited. Counting is complete in the Northern Cape and is nearing completion in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga. The ANC has taken the Northern Cape and looks set to take Mpumalanga, while the DA looks set to take the Western Cape.

Moepya said only 1.37 percent of votes had been spoilt thus far. In the 2009 elections 1.44 percent of votes were spoilt.

The IEC confirmed they were still waiting for votes to arrive from 10 foreign mission stations and would wait until 9pm tomorrow evening to receive them. If they are not received by this time the votes will not be counted.