There, MPs of the governing party were, again, reminded of the party line - vote against the motion as the ANC could not support the opposition, which was its nemesis.
ANC leaders said any member who voted for the motion would be disciplined, prompting the call for a secret ballot to avoid such action and intimidation.
Zuma is widely seen as preparing the ground for his ex-wife Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him as party chief in December and then as national president.
He says the party is satisfied that the ANC did not take part in what would have been a suicidal move.
Neither Dlamini-Zuma, 67, or Ramaphosa, 64, have declared their intention to run.
The reputation of Mr Zuma, who spent a decade in prison for his anti-apartheid activities and has been popular among some South Africans for his personal warmth and populist policies, has been tarnished by allegations of impropriety.
"His support for Dlamini-Zuma is damaging". He warned that removing Mr Zuma through a vote of no-confidence would be hugely damaging to the country. As Tuesday's vote arrived, South Africans are also suffering from a rocky economy: The country's credit rating was dropped to a junk rating this spring, and the unemployment rate is almost 28 percent.
South Africa slipped into recession earlier this year.
However, the outcome of the vote paints a complicated picture. The currency immediately strengthened on the news that the vote of no confidence will be a secret ballot.
He also stated that he was not going to resign and that since the MPs have failed through parliament to remove him, the only viable option was for the ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) to fire him. But the ANC parliamentary party did not address these criticisms in a statement following the vote, which it called a "soft coup".
These are the Economic Freedom Fighters' application for an impeachment process against Zuma and the hearing before the Supreme Court of Appeal on the Spy Tapes saga.
But Zuma and his allies are unlikely to remain still. Numerous ministers he appointed during the cabinet reshuffle in March also have strong local constituencies.
Many South Africans believe it is time the ANC had a female leader.
It was the eighth time that the opposition have attempted to oust Zuma.
Zuma on Wednesday joined in a song praising Dlamini-Zuma at an event to mark Women's Day in the Northen Cape province.
"But we've got to continue in September - we want to take Zuma to court".
The ANC had its worst showing past year in municipal elections as Zuma faced allegations of corruption.
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