The DA's federal executive says an overwhelming majority of its councillors in the City of Cape Town voted in support of a motion of no confidence against Mayor Patricia de Lille.
Democratic Alliance councillors supported the motion brought against De Lille on Wednesday evening, following a three-hour-long special caucus meeting in the City of Cape Town council chamber.
Federal executive member Natasha Mazzone released a statement on behalf of the DA's federal executive late on Wednesday, saying it was clear De Lille had lost the faith of the majority of her 138 colleagues who voted.
"This evening 97 councillors voted for the motion, 41 voted against, 15 abstained or were absent, and there was one spoilt ballot," Mazzone said.
"It is clear that an overwhelming 70% of the councillors in the caucus have expressed that they have lost confidence in Ms De Lille's leadership."
The results, including the abstentions and absentees, signal that De Lille lost the confidence of 63% of DA councillors in the Cape Town caucus.
De Lille submissions
Mazzone relisted the reasons that these councillors no longer wanted to be led by De Lille.
These include alleged breaches of the code of conduct of councillors and the DA's constitution, her public criticism of the party in the way it has handled her case, and her reluctance to "co-operate with the DA" going forward.
She also cited an "independent Bowman Gilfillan report" which apparently found prima facie evidence against the mayor, but the contents of which have yet to be made public.
"The federal executive will now provide Ms De Lille with the opportunity to make submissions as to why she should not step down."
Mazzone once again denied, on behalf of the federal executive, that the party's new "accountability clause" was about De Lille, saying claims to the contrary were "untruths" peddled to detract the public from serious "leadership flaws".
"In fact, the clause has already enabled the DA to hold an executive member in the Matzikama municipality to account. This case was the first time the clause was used. We have also received a request from Stellenbosch municipality invoking the same clause.
'Ready for a fight'
"Ultimately, the people we serve must come first. Any DA member who does not adhere to the highest possible standards of clean and efficient governance will be removed.
"The party's priority now was ensuring residents' interests in the City were the "top priority".
Once the federal executive receives submissions from De Lille, it will consider a final decision.
If it ratifies the caucus' decision, she will be given 48 hours to resign. Failing that, her membership of the party will be terminated.
On Wednesday De Lille said she would not be giving up so easily.
"I expected this to happen tonight, but this is just the beginning of another round for a fight," she told journalists immediately after the results were announced.
"I've said I'm always ready for a fight, and I will fight for fairness and I've fought for freedom in this country. So really, we will just go on."
She will also consider challenging the constitutionality of the DA's new clause in court, as she feels it has undermined her chance to clear her name in public.