Johannesburg - The ANC's national working committee (NWC) has instructed the party's top 6 officials to tell President Jacob Zuma to step down, sources have told News24.
The party's NWC held its first meeting on Monday, since being elected two weeks ago.
News24 understands that some members of the NWC want Zuma to resign before the State of the Nation Address, which will take place in two weeks' time.
Officials are expected to meet with Zuma as early as this week to inform him of the party's decision.
"The NWC decided that the officials must tell him to resign and they are working to ensure that it happens before SONA," one NWC member told News24.
Another source said there was a call in the meeting for an emergency national executive committee (NEC) meeting if the officials failed to "confront" Zuma about his resignation.
Zuma's job as head of state has been in the balance since Cyril Ramaphosa won the hotly contested election for ANC president in December, with some of his supporters calling for Zuma's immediate recall.
Senior party members are worried about the impact his protracted stay will have on the ANC's performance in the 2019 general elections.
Despite NEC members telling News24 that there was a decision to remove Zuma as head of state, the party's secretary general denied this during a post-NEC media briefing.
Over the weekend, Ace Magashule, speaking at an ANC Youth League event in KwaZulu-Natal, said there was no decision for Zuma to resign, and "it is only factional leaders who want to be populist".
His deputy Jessie Duarte told City Press that Zuma would stay in office until the end of his term in 2019. This was in sharp contrast to Ramaphosa's comments to international media indicating that there were talks on Zuma's departure.
- Read more: Zuma here to stay - Duarte