ANC Gauteng chairman and outgoing premier David Makhura votes at Knoppieslaagte, outside Centurion, May 8 2019. Picture: ALON SKUY
ANC Gauteng chairman and outgoing premier David Makhura votes at Knoppieslaagte, outside Centurion, May 8 2019. Picture: ALON SKUY

Political parties are expecting voter turnout in the electoral battleground of Gauteng to tumble from the 76.54% turnout for the 2014 general elections.

The ANC is most vulnerable in Gauteng, given that it won just under 54% of the support in the previous general election.

A possible poor voter turnout in Gauteng’s big townships, such as Soweto, could have a significant effect on the ANC’s hopes of keeping majority control in the province.

In 2016 the ANC lost Johannesburg as a result of voters staying away out of anger.

Voters queue at Knoppieslaagte outside Centurion, May 8 2019. Picture: ALON SKUY
Voters queue at Knoppieslaagte outside Centurion, May 8 2019. Picture: ALON SKUY

In the run-up to the 2019 election, opposition parties campaigned in the hope of pushing the ANC below the majority in the country’s economic hub. If this happens, the province is likely to be governed by a coalition.

There was rain on voting day in various parts of the province. Weather has an effect on voter turnout, especially in townships where most people do not have their own transport and walk to voting stations.

Another issue, was the fact that more than 40 voting stations ran out of ballot papers, according to the DA.

Gauteng residents were still queuing to vote on Wednesday evening, with polls closing at 9pm. Voting stations can only close once people still standing in the queue at 9pm get to vote.

Fred Nel, the DA’s Gauteng campaign manager, told Business Day at 7pm that voter turnout in the province was expected to be below 70%. If the turnout the DA expects holds after all votes are cast, it would be a massive drop from five years ago.

Nel said voter turnout on Wednesday differed from area to area, but that the general turnout was low.

ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said the ANC was worried about the rain earlier in the day, but the party had received reports that voters were queuing in long lines late on Wednesday afternoon.

He said he was satisfied with the turnout in Alexandra, the township which saw protests ahead of the elections over service delivery and housing issues.

TimesLIVE takes you through the country on election day, May 8 2019. Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive

Masego Shiburi, the Electoral Commission of SA’s deputy CEO, said the IEC preferred not to comment on turnout until all ballots were cast, as reports of turnout were “anecdotal”. 

Earlier, ANC Gauteng chairman and outgoing premier David Makhura said he believed the province’s residents would give the ANC another mandate to continue with its service delivery programme and clean governance.

The DA’s Gauteng premier candidate, Solly Msimanga, said the the party was looking for an outright win in Gauteng, but other options would be considered if it did not get that. These included either securing enough votes that would give the DA “the edge to dictate terms of the coalition government”, or to remain a formidable opposition party.

“What we are hoping for is victory, obviously. But the truth of the matter is that there are other possibilities that are there. Votes are unpredictable.”

With Genevieve Quintal​