Finally, the national pressure from all works of life is visibly on the powerful woman. National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete is expected to announce soon whether she will call a special sitting of Parliament to debate a motion of no confidence in president Jacob Zuma.

Opposition parties are pushing for the debate to take place as soon as possible.

Parliament is currently in recess and expected to resume only early in May.

Speaker Mbete left Tuesday’s meeting of the African National Congress national working committee early to return to Cape Town.

Mbete is expected to have talks with the leader of government business, deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu.

Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said: “The Speaker has committed to begin the process of consultation on Tuesday and she will do that and write to those parties that have written to her.

“Unfortunately we cannot give a blow-by-blow account of that process of consultation but she did indicate that it will be done swiftly.”

The Democratic Alliance, the Economic Freedom Fighter and the United Democratic Movement have all asked Mbete to reconvene Parliament for the debate.

To succeed, the motion will require a simple majority of 201 of the National Assembly’s 400 Members of Parliament (MPs).

But that will require at least 50 ANC MPs voting against the president.