Johannesburg - As few as 31 or as many as 40 "rebel" African National Congress MPs may have voted for the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma during Tuesday's secret ballot in Parliament, depending on a range of possible scenarios that could have played out during the vote.
News24 has factored in several influences on Tuesday's vote to build possible scenarios involving plausible figures for the total number of ANC MPs that voted in favour of the vote of no confidence.
These scenarios, albeit based on real factors that we understand to have been in play during the proceedings in Parliament, are merely educated guesses and should not be viewed as factual pronouncements on the number of ANC MPs who chose to side with the opposition.
Scenario 1: 31 ANC votes against Zuma
There are officially 151 opposition MPs in Parliament.
News24 understands that two members of the Democratic Alliance, one member of the United Democratic Movement and another member of one of the opposition parties were absent for the vote, which leaves us with 147 opposition MPs.
Further to this, we have learnt that the Pan Africanist Congress' one MP openly stated that he would abstain from the vote.
If the remaining 146 opposition MPs had therefore all voted in favour of the motion of no confidence, 31 ANC MPs would have needed to break ranks with the ruling party in order to reach the total of 177 "yes" votes in favour of the motion.
But there was a total of nine abstained votes, meaning that apart from the PAC MP mentioned above, another eight MPs abstained from the vote.
If, in the highly unlikely scenario that all eight of the remaining abstainees were among the ranks of opposition parties, only 138 votes in favour of the motion could have come from opposition MPs.
In this unlikely scenario, 39 ANC MPs would have needed to vote against Zuma.
Scenario 2: 40 ANC votes against Zuma
In this scenario we factored in the fact that MPs from the National Freedom Party (NFP) and the African Independent Congress (AIC), two minor opposition parties, may not have voted in favour of the motion alongside the larger opposition parties.
The AIC is in an alliance with the ANC in the Ekurhuleni metro in Gauteng while Zuma in 2014 extended somewhat of an olive branch to the NFP by appointing the party's leader, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, to his Cabinet as the deputy minister of science and technology.
Both factors could possibly have influenced the NFP and the AIC's decisions for Tuesday's vote.
The NFP has six MPs and the AIC has three.
If we subtract these nine MPs from the total number of 151 opposition MPs who could possibly have voted for the motion of no confidence, along with the four absent opposition MPs and the PAC MP who indicated he would abstain from the vote, as mentioned in scenario 1, we would be left with a maximum of 137 opposition MPs who could have voted in favour of showing Zuma the door.
This means that 40 ANC MPs would have needed to side with the opposition in order to reach the total of 177 "yes" votes.
Scenario 3: 39 ANC votes against Zuma
This scenario involves only a slight tweak of scenario 2.
If the unknown absent opposition MP had been a member of either the NFP or the AIC, and if both parties' MPs indeed chose to back Zuma, there would only have been eight MPs between the NFP and AIC.
This, along with the absent MPs from the DA and the UDM, as well as the PAC's abstainee, would leave a total of 138 opposition MPs to vote for the motion.
In this scenario 39 ANC MPs would have needed to side with the opposition.