South African President Jacob Zuma faces a no-confidence vote by secret ballot in parliament today, with opponents hoping that discontented ANC lawmakers could help oust him from office.

Criticism of Zuma from within the African National Congress has grown over corruption scandals and economic woes, and the celebrated party of nelson Mandela has declined sharply at the polls.

But the ANC which holds a large majority in parliament welcomed the decision to hold the vote by secret ballot and said it expected the no-confidence motion to fail.

Zuma has easily survived several previous parliamentary votes held without secret balloting.

A 201-vote majority would be needed to remove him from power, and the ANC holds 249 seats in the 400-seat parliament.