Even so, Mr. Zuma remained defiant, saying he had done nothing wrong, and had been “victimized” by party leaders.
Breaking his silence on the crisis in a live interview with the state broadcaster SABC, Mr. Zuma said that the effort to remove him was “unfair,” and that party officials had not given him a reason for their decision. “Nobody’s saying what I’ve done,” he said.
He said he would make a formal statement later on Wednesday.
Mr. Zuma has been found guilty of violating the Constitution in his handling of a corruption case related to his homestead, Nkandla. In addition, a public inquiry on widespread influence-peddling in his administration is expected to be held in the months ahead.
Political experts have pointed out that by vacating the presidency, Mr. Zuma would make himself vulnerable to pending inquiries and corruption charges from before he took office that he has been able to deflect as the president.
On Tuesday, the A.N.C. ordered Mr. Zuma to step down as South Africa’s leader, saying his continued presence would “erode the renewed hope and confidence among South Africans” since party elections in December, in which Mr. Ramaphosa defeated Mr. Zuma’s preferred candidate for the leadership of the A.N.C.
But party leaders did not elaborate on their