The ANC will announce current president Zuma’s successor as party leader on Sunday, concluding a bruising leadership battle that threatens to split the 105-year-old liberation movement.
About 30 ANC MPs sided with the opposition in the secret ballot, leaving Zuma with what one commentator said might prove to be a pyrrhic victory.
Zuma’s critics have been calling for a secret ballot in the hope it will embolden lawmakers from his African National Congress party to support his removal.
Opposition parties said the motion would be more likely to succeed if held by secret ballot, allowing for anonymous dissent.
Unemployment, economic stagnation and scandals around President Jacob Zuma led voters to punish the ANC, changing the outlook for national elections in 2019 and potentially emboldening Zuma’s rivals within the ANC to challenge him.