The decision by the African National Congress's (ANC) national executive followed 13 hours of tense deliberations and one face-to-face meeting between Zuma and his presumed successor, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa has said that a key committee of South Africa's ruling ANC party planned to finalize "a transition to a new administration" at a meeting that began on Monday afternoon and stretched into the night, more than seven hours later.
"The NEC of the ANC has chose to recall President Zuma and the deadline is today".
An opposition-backed motion of no confidence has been scheduled for February 22, but its sponsors want the vote to be moved up to this week.
"He will finish what he started because he does not take orders beyond the Atlantic Ocean", she said.
An election poster of President Jacob Zuma is defaced in the downtown area of Johannesburg.
After Cyril Ramaphosa won the election for the ANC presidency in December, it was decided that Zuma was to be president of the country for a further 19 months before scheduled elections.
If Mr Zuma refuses to co-operate, the matter could go to parliament for a vote on a motion of no confidence.
It is unclear how Mr Zuma will respond to the formal request to step down, which is expected to be issued later on Tuesday.
South Africa's economy, the most sophisticated on the continent, has stagnated during Zuma's nine-year tenure, with banks and mining companies reluctant to invest because of policy uncertainty and rampant corruption.
If Zuma resists, he will face a vote of no confidence in parliament. "In its wisdom, the NEC (National Executive Committee) decided... to recall its deployee Jacob Zuma", Magashule told reporters. A senior party source later told Reuters Zuma had made clear he was going nowhere. The president also faces almost 800 corruption allegations stemming from an arms deal during the 1990s. Since there can not be two captains in a ship, the party began the move to ask Zuma to step aside.
The country's top court also ruled in 2016 that the President had violated the constitution when he used state funds to pay for multi-million dollar upgrades to his private home.
Zuma, 75, took office in 2009 and is in his second five-year term.
The Guptas deny any wrongdoing.
In 2008, Zuma's supporters pushed out then-president Thabo Mbekivia a "recall" over allegations of abuse of power.