The decision according to the party was taken to put an end to his scandal-hit rule and pave way for Cyril Ramaphosa, the party leader, to take power.
The ANC’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule, said Zuma, who had resisted days of pressure to step aside, had asked to remain in office for between three and six months, but party leaders rebuffed him due to the urgency of the need to restore the integrity of public institutions.
Magashule, an ally of Zuma, suggested that the ANC would consider removing the South African President a through a no-confidence vote in parliament, a decision that risks extending the power struggle in the ANC.
“All necessary parliamentary processes that arise from this decision will now ensue,” he said, adding that the ANC had not yet officially proposed a no-confidence motion. Mr Magashule said Mr Zuma was being given “time and space to respond. We haven’t given him a deadline”.
The ANC’s national executive committee decided to sack Mr Zuma after a marathon 13-hour meeting into the early hours of Tuesday that capped weeks of intrigue and political paralysis, as the president resisted pressure from party leaders to stand aside. His nine years in office have been plagued by corruption scandals, a stagnating economy and sliding support for the ANC.
The party has been gripped by a power struggle since Mr Ramaphosa, the deputy president, defeated Mr Zuma’s preferred candidate to be elected the ANC’s leader in December. Supporters of Mr Ramaphosa insisted that the president resign immediately to allow his successor to begin the task of turning around Africa’s most industrialised economy, root out graft and revive the fortunes of the ANC ahead of general elections next year.
As the talks dragged on Mr Ramaphosa visited Mr Zuma at his official residence in the capital of Pretoria just before midnight on Monday where he reportedly delivered an ultimatum to the president to resign or face dismissal.
Referring to Mr Zuma as a “deployee” of the ANC, Mr Magashule said the NEC’s decision to fire him “was taken only after exhaustive discussion on the impact such a recall would have on the country, the ANC and the functioning of government”.
No party member has resisted an order by the more than 80-member NEC to leave a government post. Thabo Mbeki resigned as president in 2008 after being told to step down by the NEC months after he lost a party leadership battle to Mr Zuma.
However, Mr Zuma, a ruthless political survivor and former ANC intelligence chief, could refuse to heed the NEC because its decisions are not legally binding. That would force the ANC o remove him through parliament, which elects the president.