Opposition MPs stood up and cheered when the ANC didn't have enough MPs in the National Assembly on Tuesday to approve the nomination of former Msunduzi mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo as a Public Service Commission (PSC) commissioner.
Last week, the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration nominated Hlatswayo for the PSC.
The ANC's Hlatshwayo was the mayor of Msunduzi from 2007 to 2010.
In March 2010, the KwaZulu-Natal Executive Committee put the municipality under administration because of its financial status, non-compliance with various statutory obligations relating to financial, institutional and governance matters and a lack of oversight by the council.
Hlatshwayo and her executive were then removed.
Soon after losing the mayoral chain, Hlatshwayo was appointed at the KwaZulu-Natal's health department.
She was 33rd on the ANC's KwaZulu-Natal provincial to national list in the May 2019 elections but didn't make it to Parliament.
On Tuesday, when the committee's report was put to a vote, there were two abstentions, 105 MPs who voted no. There were only 168 MPs in the House.
Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said the nomination must be approved by a majority of the house, so 201 votes were needed and it was therefore not passed.
The DA strongly opposed Hlatswayo's appointment to the PSC.
In a statement released after the sitting, DA spokesperson on Public Service and Administration Leon Schreiber said the "ANC had hoped to rubber-stamp the recommendation of Zanele Hlatshwayo to fill a vacancy on the PSC".
"However, it would seem as though the ANC themselves clearly had no palate for this appointment as their own MPs were a no-show to this important vote resulting in Parliament not having a quorum to pass Hlatshwayo's appointment."
There are 14 PSC commissioners, five of whom are appointed by the National Assembly.
The National Assembly recommends a candidate to the president, who then appoints the commissioner.
The DA supported current Deputy Public Protector Kevin Malunga, whose term comes to an end next month, to be the commissioner rather than Hlatshwayo.
Schreiber said after the recommendation wasn't passed, "we will be writing to President Ramaphosa to request him to reject the proposed recommendation of cadre Zanele, and to instead appoint the highly-qualified alternate candidate, Kevin Malunga".