The African National Congress has 249 seats in the 400-seat parliament and the opposition controls 151 seats.
"We do not nor have we ever doubted their loyalty and discipline in relation to the decisions of the movement", the party said in response to a decision by Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete to allow a secret ballot in the upcoming anti-Zuma no confidence motion. According to the South Africa Constitution, if he loses, Zuma and his entire cabinet would have to step down and the speaker of Parliament would take up the presidency for 30 days.
His term is set to continue until elections in 2019.
Dozens of ANC members ended up supporting the no-confidence motion, as the ruling party holds 249 of the 400 parliament seats, five of them now vacant.
The motion was defeated by 198 votes to 177.
Earlier, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane told MPs that it was their choice to do what was best for the country. "Today, we either do what is best for our country or we turn our back on it", he said.
The motion, submitted by the Democratic Alliance, accused Zuma of "derelict leadership" and said the president has "lost all sense of rationality".
"We will see him in court next month - on September 14 & 15, where he will have to defend himself in the Supreme Court of Appeal against the 783 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering he still faces", he said.
MPs celebrate an unsuccessful vote of no-confidence against President Jacob Zuma on August 8, 2017 in the National Assembly in Cape Town.
Opposition parties and the Future South Africa coalition of social, religious and community organisations have vowed to intensify their battle to get Zuma recalled by the ANC. Marches against Zuma and, by the ANC Cape Town region, for Zuma. After a chorus of shouts responded to each call for votes in favor and against, she pronounced, "I think the "no's" have it".
But the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it was looking forward to its Constitutional Court case against Zuma in September.
Demonstrations both for and against Zuma are planned in front of the parliament building before the much-anticipated vote.
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