#SAElections2019: three voting surprises that left us shook

10 May 2019 - 11:04 By Unathi Nkanjeni
If 'spoilt ballot' was a political party, it would have done well in the election, with more than 167,000 counted by mid-morning on Friday.
If 'spoilt ballot' was a political party, it would have done well in the election, with more than 167,000 counted by mid-morning on Friday.
Image: Gulshan Khan/AFP

Most elections are full of surprises right up until - and after - the polls close on election day.

The 2019 general elections were no different, with some shockers in the form of the vast number of spoilt ballots and the unexpected success of a small party that was criticised for having a white nationalist agenda. And each year, there are a few parties that experts thought they had a handle on, only to be perplexed by the results.

Here are three surprises from this year's elections:

Spoilt ballots

Making your X and moving right along was the protocol. However, some people managed to get this simple task very wrong.

Reportedly, 167,714 ballots were spoiled. Leading the way with the highest number of spoilt ballots was KwaZulu-Natal with 69,619, followed by the Eastern Cape and Gauteng with 53,725 and 41,057, respectively.

The Western Cape came in fourth with 35,277, followed by the North West with 31,847. Mpumalanga recorded 31,744. Limpopo, Free State and Northern Cape recorded 22,191, 15,450 and 11,057, respectively.

The electoral commission (IEC) said a spoilt or invalid vote is accounted for in the reconciliation of ballot papers in each voting station but has no bearing on the aggregation of valid votes.

"Thus, for the person who casts a ballot that is ultimately deemed as invalid, the weight of the effort is the same as that of a person who has not turned out to vote regardless of whether such a person has registered to vote or not," said the IEC.

The rise of FF+

What the IEC didn't see coming was the success of the Afrikaans-speaking VF Plus party, also known as Freedom Front Plus or FF+.

The party, which won 165,715 votes during the 2014 general elections, had by Thursday garnered more than 237,000 votes with 59% of the vote counted. Added to that, the party also doubled its 2014 support in the Western Cape, Northern Cape, and Mpumalanga, while growing its support in North West.

The FF+ received 0.9% of the national share of the votes in 2014 but is projected to receive more than 2% in these elections.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's ACM

Motsoeneng's African Content Movement (ACM) found the going tough.

The new kid on the block garnered only 2,379 voters after 65% of the national votes had been captured at the Results Operations Centre (the ROC) in Pretoria on Thursday. It  failed to attain even 1% of the votes.

Parties need to get about 35,000 votes to qualify for a seat in parliament.

Motsoeneng, the controversial former SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chief operating officer, formed the ACM in December 2018 with grand designs to address poverty, land, unemployment and education.