The ruling party , the African National Congress (ANC) is convening an explosive close door meeting to discuss the exit of the country’s leader. President Jacob Zuma faces a key battle for his political survival this weekend when senior members of his ruling party say they’ll push for its decision-making National Executive Committee to order him to step down.

President Zuma goes into the meeting of the committee facing an unprecedented level of opposition from within the African National Congress and its labour and communist supporters following a series of scandals he’s faced since he took office in 2009.

Similarly, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed the South African Council of Churches on Sunday by saying the nation is at risk of becoming a “mafia state”.

Although the ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa denied that the option of Zuma’s ouster will feature at the three-day executive committee meeting that starts on Friday, four members of the panel said they would force it onto the agenda. They asked not to be named because they aren’t authorised to speak on the matter.

“This will be a critical meeting for the NEC,” said Ongama Mtimka, a political science lecturer at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, who says there is probably an even chance of him being removed. “We have the balance of power shifting within the ANC. More and more people have begun to speak out.”