Cape Town: South African President Jacob Zuma, 75, survived another attempt in parliament to force him from office on Tuesday, but emerged scarred after some members of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party voted with the opposition.
The 75-year-old Zuma, in power since 2009, secured 198 votes to the opposition's 177 in a no-confidence motion held by secret ballot, as loyal ANC lawmakers rallied to his support. There were nine abstentions.
"They are pumping propaganda through the media that the ANC is no longer supported by the people. It is their own imagination," an exuberant Zuma told a cheering crowd outside parliament in Cape Town after the result was announced.
The ANC holds 249 seats in the 400-seat parliament and the opposition controls 151, so it required 50 ANC lawmakers backing the opposition to vote Zuma and his cabinet out.
The speaker of parliament, Baleka Mbete, had earlier ruled that the vote - unlike other no-confidence votes Zuma has faced - should be by secret ballot, a decision the opposition hoped would embolden ANC members unhappy with Zuma to vote against him.
Had the vote gone against him on Tuesday, he and his entire cabinet would have had to step down.
South Africa's rand weakened nearly 1.5 percent immediately after the news of Zuma's victory. Zuma, who has held power in Africa's most industrialized economy since 2009, has now survived nine no-confidence votes despite a record in office marred by allegations of sleaze and influence-peddling.