At least one DA councillor and some of its coalition partners helped unseat the party in the Johannesburg metro by voting for the ANC's mayoral candidate, Geoff Makhubo.
With the votes cast and counted during a sitting of the Johannesburg council on Wednesday to elect the new mayor, the ANC, who has 121 seats in the council, bagged 137 votes, giving it more than the 50% plus one needed to win the metro.
The DA, with 103 seats, only managed to get 101 votes for its mayoral candidate, Funzela "Funzi" Ngobeni, while the EFF, with 30 seats, received 30 votes for its candidate, Musa Novela.
To give more perspective on voting numbers, the IFP has five seats and AIC four, while the FF Plus, ACDP, UDM, Cope, Patriotic Alliance and Al Jama-ah have one seat each.
As the ANC takes back the metro that it lost in the 2016 local government elections, voting figures left little doubt that coalition partners and at least one DA councillor became turncoats.
DA Gauteng provincial chairperson Mike Moriarty told News24 he was disappointed they had turned on the party.
He said it was an outright betrayal not only of the DA, but also the people who had voted them into power.
Moriarty added he was certain at least one DA councillor voted for Makhubo and by extension the ANC, but there would be no witch hunt to find out who it was.
"The question they need to ask is if they found it appropriate to vote for a tainted individual," Moriarty said, adding any DA councillor who voted for Makhubo should resign from the party.
Commenting on the reality some of the DA's coalition partners in Johannesburg also voted with the ANC, Moriarty said their own voters would reject them for making that decision.
The DA's coalition partners in Johannesburg include Cope, the ACDP, FF Plus, UDM and IFP.
Following the 2016 local elections, the EFF voted with the DA to give them the metro but it maintained it was not in a formal coalition with the blue party.
"Losing through coalition partners voting for the ANC does not cast a reflection on DA votes," Moriarty told News24.
He said the DA would now come back as the opposition party in the metro and would be working harder than ever to increase the number of seats in the 2021 local government elections.
Moriarty added the DA's downfall was that it did not get an outright majority in the economic hub in 2016, saying it would work towards that in the next local election.
"Although this is a loss and a setback, we will not give up the fight against ANC corruption. [The year] 2021 will present the people of Johannesburg and the country an opportunity to vote for DA-led governments that always put people first.
"Today is a sad day for the people of Johannesburg who believed in and supported the DA-led multiparty coalition government even during the toughest of times. We had made great progress in building a city all residents could be proud of. Today, that project will be undone."
Moriarty also slammed those in the council for voting for Makhubo.
"Notably, the ANC again put forward its own candidate, councillor Geoff Makhubo, who is deeply compromised due to his alleged corrupt involvement in a City of Johannesburg tender which has allegedly enriched him to the tune of R30m."
"Is that the kind of person they want as mayor, [if so] we will see a return to professional looting."