Tens of thousands of South Africans have staged protests in recent weeks demanding Zuma’s resignation, and opposition parties, religious groups and civil society activists have joined forces against him.
In an interview Al Jazeera English’s UpFront, Mandela told host Mehdi Hasan: “If the people are calling for that, yes, he should listen to the people and then step down.”
Zuma, who came to power in 2009, has been battered by a series of corruption scandals, while the country has suffered record unemployment, slowing growth and stubborn racial inequality.
This month’s protests were the biggest in years and were sparked after Zuma sacked his widely respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan, leading to a tumbling of the country’s currency and stock markets, causing losses worth millions of dollars.
Ndileka Mandela in March stated she would no longer vote for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the party that led the decades-long struggle against apartheid and carried Nelson Mandela to power in the 1994 elections, ending white-minority rule.
She told Upfront host Mehdi Hasan: “The leader must go back to the basic tenets of ANC. Of the Freedom charter.”
When asked how her grandfather might react to the current turmoil within the ANC, she said that while it was unfair to compare this to the apartheid government, “I would refer back to what he [Nelson Mandela] said when he was alive, […] if the ANC does what the apartheid government did, you must do the same that you did to the apartheid government.”
Zuma, 75, is due to step down as head of the ANC in December, and as president before the 2019 general election.
He is facing a no-confidence vote, which was initially scheduled for April 18 and delayed owing to a legal tussle over whether it should be a secret ballot for politicians.