In an unprecedented move, Members of Parliament (MPs) were allowed to cast secret ballots in a vote to remove the president.
It opened the door for African National Congress (ANC) members, who are worried about his leadership, to defy the party line by voting to oust Zuma.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says his party’s long-running campaign against Zuma is yielding results.
From Parliament to the country’s courts, opposition politicians are keeping up the pressure on all fronts.
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says: “We have two court cases coming up now. We’ve got one in September against Jacob Zuma, and that we’ll continue to fight.”
Zuma may have survived another attempt to unseat him in Parliament, but he will soon have to defend himself in court as opposition politicians are seeking to have him impeached.
They have turned to the Constitutional Court to force the Speaker to act against Zuma over his handling of the Nkandla saga.
The DA believes it was worth the wait and Maimane says he believed more of the ANC Members of Parliament would have voted with their conscience to remove Zuma.
“Regardless of what the costs and regardless of everything else, this is a necessary step. We must keep fighting and we must keep holding the executive to account.”
“This is actually going to give a lot of energy for the opposition to continue fighting going forward.”
Congress of the People leader Mosioua Lekota says South Africans must know that the ANC are abusing their mandate.
“The only thing that’s left is that we must go back to the people, we must consolidate collaboration of the opposition parties.
“And secondly, we must go to the ground and educate our people that you gave the ANC this mandate.”
Malema says they are very happy with the outcome of the secret ballot in the motion of no confidence against Zuma.
Malema says for the first time 26 ANC members voted with the opposition.
The leader of the red berets says these results mean the tide is turning against the ANC.
“We’re going to be putting more pressure. ANC is coming to their senses.
“It’s only those who can't think [who] are calling a motion of no confidence a coup. There are cracks in the ANC. There's no unity in the ANC, they chose a criminal over the people.”
Malema says the opposition has a reason to celebrate because they see the enemy is shaking.
Meanwhile, ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu was delighted that the motion was defeated; it’s been a tense time for the party with uncertainty and internal tensions over this vote.
“What we are happy about is that we have defeated the motion. That was the most important focus of the ANC parliamentarians here.”
Mthembu says the party will deal with all issues internally, but not by removing Zuma from office.
He says to have done so would have emboldened the opposition to start on their election campaign for 2019.
Mthembu says a vote against Zuma would have fractured and weakened the party.
“Difficulties of alleged rampant corruption we must deal with. We are still committed to dealing with all these issues. But as we’ve stated, we did not believe that dealing with these issues would be by removing Zuma.”
Opposition parties were also jubilant because the results show at least 26 ANC MPs voted in favour of ousting President Zuma.
United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa says the motion of no confidence does not signal the end of the party's quest to remove Zuma.
“Oh yes, it went to the wire because there are only 11 votes which divided us. It’s not the same ANC which always boasts it’s got the numbers, this time we reduced them to nothing.”
Holomisa also tweeted that the UDM will be joining the EFF's proceedings to impeach Zuma.
Because it was a secret ballot, it’s not possible to know how many ANC MPs chose to abstain or who went against the party line, but the bottom line is that Zuma has survived.