A voter casts her ballot on Thursday -- voting was extended to a second day, purportedly because of delays in printing ballot papers

Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa Mosotho Moepya said the 2024 elections not only tested the strength of the country's institutions but also the citizens.

Speaking at the announcement of the results of the National and Provincial Elections at the National Results Operations Centre (ROC) in Midrand on Sunday evening, Moepya said as a nation, South Africa has "emerged triumphant, having conducted these elections with the utmost transparency, fairness and adherence to the highest standards of democratic practice," SA News reported.

Moepya, who noted that the elections were held in a free and fair way, has witnessed many challenges for the commission during the voting process. However, a fair election was possible due to the sacrifices of those who laid the foundation of democracy in 1994.

"Just as the watershed elections of 1994 laid the foundation for our democratic order, the 2024 elections mark a milestone in the continued growth and maturation of our nation's electoral process," he said.

He added, "Throughout this endeavor, the Electoral Commission of South Africa has never sought to waver from its commitment to deliver elections compliant with South Africa's constitutional order."

Moepya noted that this election journey also had many hurdles, including some serious attacks on commission members and key staff in an attempt to damage the institution's credibility.

Aside from this, there were many "relentless and targeted social media attacks, disinformation campaigns, unwarranted allegations and sometimes what appeared to be acts of intimidation."

However, as an institution with the responsibility of fair and free elections, the commission persevered and remained focused on the challenges. The chairperson went on to thank South Africans for their kind thoughts, encouragement, correction and prayers throughout this journey.

"In any election, the most anxious moments come with the declaration of the election results. South Africa's nascent democracy has experienced one of the most peaceful electoral periods in recent times," he said. "For this, we thank all her people. You have enabled us to truly capture a climate in which elections could be held."

The elections witnessed millions of eligible voters across the country heading to the voting stations to exercise their rights in the seventh democratic elections. As per the final election results, no party has won yet.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's African National Congress party - known for having the majority of votes for the last three decades - had secured only 40% of the votes this year, marking a significant decline from the 57.5% achieved in 2019.

Political leaders are now under coalition negotiations to form a government. The main opposition Democratic Alliance has received 21.8%, as per VOA News.