Ramaphosa said he understands South Africans want the country's leadership to resolve its problems and that the national executive committee (NEC) "will be doing precisely that".
Following an uncompromising meeting with the ANC's top six on Sunday night, at which an unrepentant Zuma refused Ramaphosa's demand that he resign, the writing was on the cards for the president. Other options for his removal include impeachment proceedings in parliament or a vote on an opposition-sponsored motion of no confidence that is scheduled for February 22. It was suggested that perhaps Mr. Ramaphosa was being mindful of likely ethnic-based violence in Kwazulu-Natal, where Mr. Zuma hails from, in the aftermath of a rash recall decision.
Zuma's presidency has been marred by corruption scandals, slow economic growth and record unemployment that have fuelled public anger in sharp contrast to national optimism after Mandela's release.
The Sunday Times has also learnt that Ramaphosa intends to appoint Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu as his deputy when he becomes president.
The reason for this tag is that it means Zuma is kicked out of office unceremoniously and without the privileges due to a former president.
Ahead of the meeting Zuma's supporters were gearing up to wage one last battle to save his political life after the embattled leader suffered another setback yesterday.
Down but not out- yet South Africa's embattled President Jacob Zuma has rejected a party request that he resign
Zuma, 75, who is in power since 2009, is facing several corruption charges, which he has declined. Ramaphosa also led South Africa's delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last month, mixing with heads of state and trying to assure investors that the country is emerging from the turmoil that briefly sent it into recession a year ago. If Zuma did resign, Cyril Ramaphosa would deliver the address as acting president.
Under Zuma, the ANC won less than 54 percent of the vote in local elections in 2016.
The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.
The interests of people must be put first, not the interests of individuals, said Ramaphosa.
He campaigned as the anti-Zuma candidate, promising to target corruption. "It is happening fast", a senior ANC member said.
Zuma and Ramaphosa will reportedly conclude talks before the end of the weekend, and the discussions are focused on logistical and legal concerns, like support for his family and some of Zuma's legal issues.