The ministers made the dramatic threat on the sidelines of a tense extended national executive (NEC) committee meeting.
The threat can be viewed as a pre-emptive strike against Zuma, who has been planning a Cabinet reshuffle to purge his political opponents.
One of the ministers said: “It’s a malicious rumour, we are fighting within ANC processes.”
It is understood a stalemate in the meeting prompted ANC Northern Cape chairman Zemani Saul to propose a “compromise”. He suggested that the top six leaders of the party should wrangle over the issue and report back to the NEC at its next meeting.
Many ministers who have been contemplating resigning spoke out in support of Zuma’s recall at a three-day NEC meeting in Irene over the weekend.
Ministers who spoke out face a stark choice should Zuma remain in office: resign and make way for Zuma to fill their positions with his loyalists or wait for him to reshuffle them.