At a media briefing in Johannesburg yesterday, Mantashe said Zuma's departure was discussed and that "a number of members of the NEC were of the view that the ANC should listen to this call". They are also concerned about a dip in popularity ahead of national elections in 2019.
"Nothing was out of bounds. we all made a decision to speak our minds", said a second source.
"In the case of the opposition forces, the message is clear that the intention is to dislodge the ANC from power".
The motion was reportedly proposed by Joel Netshitenzhe and supported by some MPs and former ministers.
An NEC member told News24 it would be irresponsible for the party not to discuss Zuma's recall, while the SACP's deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila urged the party to deal with the matter or accept the demise of the 105 year old liberation movement.
The analyst predicts that, with his power as it is, Zuma will have an easy route to having his desired outcome to the ANC elective conference in December 2017 (with Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma emerging as the next president) after which he will step down in 2018.
Cape Town - The debate of Jacob Zuma's fate as South African president in a top African National Congress meeting and subsequent survival had a boomerang effect on the rand, with the currency returning to where it started.
But the president retains widespread support from ANC members in some rural areas and has been able to rely on lawmakers to survive previous votes of no confidence.
Some 62% of ANC voters polled by Ipsos disapprove of President Jacob Zuma while only 18% support him‚ suggesting that his continued presidency is exacting a heavy price on the party's electability.
"Zuma surviving is not a surprise", said Peter Attard Montalto, an economist at Nomura International Plc in London.
Zuma called the reports "pure fabrication", according to the Sunday Times.
Zuma's supporters in the ANC dismissed all the points raised by his detractors.
State capture is at the centre of calls from within and outside the ANC for Zuma to quit.
Speaking on the possibility that a secret ballot could happen in a motion of no confidence vote in Parliament, the party said in no certain terms that voting in any way counter to the ANC's directive would amount to misconduct.
Zuma warned members to "not push him too far" by criticising him in public.
The party leadership was expected to wrap up its talks during the evening.