0819 GMT December 16, 2017
Zuma survived the attempt to oust him, but he was weakened after at least 30 African National Congress lawmakers voted on Tuesday for a motion that would have forced him to resign.
The 75-year-old is due to step down as head of the party in December, and as national president before the 2019 general election.
Whoever succeeds him as party leader would be likely to be the next South African president, and Tuesday's vote underlined the fierce struggle for control of the party once led by anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
Zuma is seen as favoring his ex-wife, former African Union chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to take over, ahead of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
"The opposition will now step up its campaign against Zuma -- he is the symbol that they use to scare voters (away from the ANC)," Achille Mbembe, political analyst at Wits University in Johannesburg, told AFP.
"This is the end of the post-colonial story when the liberation movement comes to power but then loses its legitimacy."
On Tuesday, Zuma secured 198 votes against 177 for the opposition motion, which would have needed 201 votes to gain a majority and oust him -- and his entire cabinet.