ANC secretary general Ace Magashule delivered Zuma's recall letter to the presidential guesthouse on Tuesday morning after the party's highest decision-making body, the national executive committee (NEC), decided that he should go.
Recalling Zuma is a powerful statement that the ANC no longer backs the President, but it alone will not force him out of office - Zuma must either resign or face a vote of no confidence in Parliament, reported CNN.
A no-confidence vote is scheduled for February 22 but opposition politicians were also pushing for the vote to happen this week. Zuma's term is due to end next year.
Zuma's presidency has been overshadowed by allegations of corruption which he has always vehemently denied.
The 75-year-old faces more than 780 allegations of corruption relating to a 1990s arms deal.