ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule announces that the party has recalled President Jacob Zuma. Photo: Getrude Makhafola / ANA

The ANC has recalled President Jacob Zuma as head of state, secretary-general Ace Magashule confirmed on Tuesday in Johannesburg.

''The national executive committee decided to recall the president in accordance with rule 12.2 of the ANC, which allows the ANC to recall it’s deployees,” Magashule told reporters at Luthuli House.

He said there was no deadline given to Zuma, who had asked the party to give him three to six months before he could vacate the Union Buildings.

However, it has been reported that an emotional Zuma has been given until the end of today after refusing to do so.

Should he fail to resign, a motion of no confidence by his own party in Parliament would spell the end of his reign, something Ramaphosa has tried to avoid.

According to reports, Ramaphosa, the president-in-waiting, was widely praised by the NEC for the way in which he has handled the matter. 

“We will see what comrade Zuma’s response is, but it’s obvious that we want [ANC president] comrade Ramaphosa to take over as the president of the country,” Magushule said in sticking to the party line.

Pressure mounted on the beleaguered Zuma to step down. South Africans have lambasted the protracted ''transition talks'' that started last week, demanding an end to the impasse. 

The ANC leadership came under heavy criticism from commentators and social media users accusing the governing party of being ''too soft'' on Zuma by not firing him instantly and ending the political stalemate. 

This saw opposition parties demand that a February 22 motion of no confidence debate be moved forward to this week. 

The parties also demanded that Parliament be dissolved and early elections held to ''seek a new mandate'' from South Africans. 

The country's general elections are set to be held in 2019.

African News Agency (ANA)