The African National Congress (ANC) had garnered more than 60% of the 10,9-million local government election votes counted by 07:00 on Thursday morning.
According to figures from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), 6 548 709 votes had been cast in favour of the ANC while the Democratic Alliance (DA) had secured 2 790 862 votes or 26,03%.
It was still not clear how many of South Africa's 23,65-million voters took part in Wednesday's election.
Chief Electoral Officer Pansy Tlakula told a press briefing on Wednesday that she hoped that at least 40% of registered voters had cast their ballots.
Of the 10,9-million votes cast by 3,73-million voters counted by 07:00, 201 385, or 1,8%, were spoilt votes
At 07:00 the IEC was reporting that the ANC had secured 826 council seats, the DA 358 seats, the Congress of the People (Cope) 40 and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 16.
It was not known which wards these were, but the DA's Tshwane spokesperson said the party had secured 38 of 105 wards in Tshwane, with results still outstanding.
The IEC had yet to record the Tshwane results.
In the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, the DA and the ANC appeared to be in a bruising battle with the ANC edging ahead of the DA.
At 07:00, the IEC was reporting that the DA had garnered 167 561 votes to the ANC's 172 379 votes.
Attempts by the ANC to regain control of Western Cape municipalities did not appear to be bearing fruit.
According to IEC figures, the ANC had secured 30,1% of the vote in the province compared to 59,4% for the DA. This was based on 1 604 389 votes cast by 567 360 voters.
A ward in Randfontein west of Johannesburg was the first to complete its vote counting. The ANC won 57% of the vote and the DA 43%.
Nine people were registered in Ward 74802011. Seven of them voted, with the ANC receiving four votes and the DA three.
Early results out of Gauteng indicated that the DA was leading in Midvaal, while in KwaZulu-Natal the IFP was doing battle with the National Freedom Party (NFP) for second spot.
The NFP, which was created by the IFP's former national chairperson Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi earlier this year, had secured 225 041 votes to the 326 438 of the IFP.