African National Congress (ANC) treasurer-general Paul Mashatile says President Jacob Zuma has been given until Wednesday to resign.
If not, the African National Congress will proceed with a motion of no confidence against Zuma on Thursday to legally force him to resign according to the Constitution, he said.
Mashatile and ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu were briefing the media following Mashatile's address to the ANC caucus on Wednesday on the outcomes of a meeting of the party's national executive committee (NEC).
"I have now reported to the caucus that the NEC has decided to recall President Zuma, and the deadline is today," Mashatile said in the ANC boardroom.
"I knew that question would be asked today," he said with a smile.
"We have asked the chief whip to proceed with a motion of no confidence tomorrow, if the presiding officers can feature that in, so President Zuma is removed and we can proceed to elect president [Cyril] Ramaphosa," Mashatile said.
Mashatile said if Zuma resigns before Thursday then there was no need to debate a motion, as it falls away.
"We are on our way. If the president wants to catch up, he may."
'We don't want to keep South Africa waiting'
Mthembu said that if the motion is successful, they would invite the Chief Justice - as prescribed by the Constitution - to oversee the election of a new president in the very same sitting.
Both Mashatile and Mthembu looked quite relaxed and jovial ahead of the briefing.
They both said it was possible for Ramaphosa to deliver a State of the Nation Address (Sona) before the budget speech on Wednesday, February 21, once elected president.
Mthembu said Sona could take place on Friday at 19:00, pending the decision of National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.
"We don't want to keep South Africa waiting," Mashatile continued.
"If [the] president wants to respond, he can respond, but we can't continue waiting."
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule told reporters on Tuesday that no deadline had been given to Zuma.
Mashatile did not answer News24's question on whether the deadline was new information, or whether the information communicated on Tuesday was incorrect.
No negotiation with EFF on motion's amendment
Speaker Mbete has confirmed that the Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF's) existing motion of no confidence against Zuma will take place on Thursday at 14.00.
Mthembu said that it was likely that the ANC would amend the EFF's already existing motion to provide its own reasons for removing Zuma.
"The substance won't change, only the reasoning," Mthembu explained.
"As ANC, we will put our own reasoning arising from the 54th [ANC] conference, and the discussions from the national executive committee meeting of 13 hours."
Mthembu said they would not negotiate with the EFF on the amendment.
The ANC has a 62% majority in Parliament, and can amend the motion on the order paper as given, as long as it does not change the principal intention of the motion.
Mthembu also said there was no indication yet if the motion would be conducted via secret ballot, as that was up to the Speaker based on a request.
"But bring it on," Mthembu added.