Pretoria - As election results trickled in at the IEC national operations centre on Thursday night, the African Transformation Movement (ATM) had surpassed parties such as the Congress of the People and Agang SA.
Almost 60% of the vote had been counted.
The ATM, established by church formations in 2018, received 43 919 national votes from just over 9 million counted at around 7 pm. The church congregations in the Eastern Cape bolstered the party's performance with 22 589 votes, followed by Kwazulu-Natal with 5 867 and Gauteng at 5000.
The party's head of policy, former media owner Mzwanele Manyi, earlier led an impromptu protest by a group of disgruntled parties at the results centre. The parties included BLF, SWRP and ACM, who expressed dissatisfaction with the IEC processes. The political parties have threatened to approach the Electoral Court.
ATM, led by its president Vuyolwethu Zungula, has denied allegations that it was formed by the ANC faction aligned to former president Jacob Zuma in an attempt to weaken those aligned with president Cyril Ramaphosa within the governing party.