EFF Gauteng Premier Candidate Advocate Dali Mpofu jokes with Minister Lindiwe Sisulu at the IEC's national results operations centre. Picture: Masi Losi

Pretoria - The ANC retained control of Limpopo on Friday - but with fewer votes than in the previous election.

According to preliminary results, the party won with 1 149 350 - 78.60 percent of the provincial vote.

In 2009, the African National Congress had garnered 1 265 631 votes which was a 84.88 percent victory.

The capturing of results in the province concluded on Friday.

A total of 1,462,186 valid votes were counted. The number of spoilt votes was 18 409.

Voter turnout in Limpopo was 60.72 percent.

The Economic Freedom Fighters snatched second place from the Congress of the People.

Cope became the official opposition in the province after the 2009 elections with 7.53 percent of the vote.

On Friday, preliminary results showed the EFF had taken over with 156 982 votes - 10.74 percent.

Limpopo is the home province of the EFF's leader Julius Malema.

Cope dropped to fourth place with 12 573 votes - 0.86 percent.

The Democratic Alliance came in third place with 94,724 - 6.48 percent.

The DA's support in the province appeared to have increased.

In 2009, the party came third with 51 856 votes - 3.48 percent.

Limpopo is also the home province of Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele.

Her party had spent some time campaigning in the province, but received only 5198 votes Ä 0.36 percent.