Independent Electoral Commission officials count ballots after voting in South Africa's fifth democratic general election was closed at the Langa polling station in Cape Town. AFP PHOTO/RODGER BOSCH

Pretoria - Early indications are that voters did not overwhelmingly support the “Vote No” campaign in Wednesday's general election.

By Thursday afternoon, just 1.44 percent of the total ballots that had been captured by 11.30am had been recorded as spoiled. This represented approximately 25 000 of the total votes cast.

Special votes had comprised about two-percent of the spoiled votes, according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

However, just over 7.55 million votes out of 25.39 million voters whose names were on the voters' roll had been counted, captured and audited, with an average voter turnout of just over 72.61 percent recorded.

The percentage of spoiled votes does not represent a change in previous trends. There were just 1.34 percent in the 2009 general election, and 1.6 percent in 2004.

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, who co-heads the campaign, said he would only be able to ascertain if voters heeded the call to spoil their ballots once the counting had been completed, expected to be within the next 24 hours.

IEC chairperson Advocate Pansy Tlakula said “while a picture of trends was beginning to emerge, it was too early at the time to make any meaningful prediction of the final outcome”.

Last month, more than 100 veterans signed a document entitled “Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote no!” - translated “We are fed up! Wake up” - against the ANC and President Jacob Zuma.

In an unprecedented move, Kasrils and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge asked South Africans to take a stand up against fraud and corruption in government by spoiling their ballots on May 7.

With the IEC racing through about 830 voting districts an hour yesterday, it will not be long before Kasrils and Madlala-Routledge find out if their campaign was supported by the voters.

Spoiled ballots are votes which cannot be counted since the voter’s intention is unclear.

South Africa is still considered below the global average of spoiled votes.

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