South Africa's ruling ANC holds onto lead in national vote

  • Video report by ITV News Africa Correspondent John Ray

South Africa's presidential and parliamentary elections look set to be won by the African National Congress (ANC), which is holding a comfortable lead in early projections.

The incomplete count shows the party received less support than in the last balloting five years ago, with more than two-thirds of the vote counted.

There have again been widespread allegations of corruption by opposition parties against Nelson Mandela's former party, the ANC.

Turnout in South African elections is often high but it has fallen by almost 10% this year. Credit: ITV News

Turnout, which in South Africa is historically high, fell from from 74% in 2014 to 65%.

The ANC, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, had 57% of the vote with 67% of polling districts counted, according to results announced by the electoral commission.

It received 62% of the total vote five years ago.

The Democratic Alliance received 22% of the vote so far, the most of any opposition party, about the same share it received in 2014.

DA party leader Mmusi Maimane campaigned vigorously on the corruption issue.

Speaking at the electoral commission's results center, he said his party appeals to South Africans of all races.

The ANC has around 57% of votes counted so far. Credit: ITV News

"We will never be a party for whites. We will never be a party for blacks," said Maimane. "We are a party for all South Africans."

The populist, left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters, which also made graft a main campaign issue, increased its share of the vote to nearly 10% support.More than 40 smaller parties also took part in the election.

In South Africa, the president and parliament are not elected directly.

The number of votes won by each party determines how many representatives are sent to the national 400-seat legislature.

The president of the country is the leader of the party that gets the most votes.

Results from South Africa's more remote areas are expected to trickle in, and electoral officials say final results may not be announced until Saturday.