The South African Police on Wednesday raided the Johannesburg home of a business family that is reportedly close to President Jacob Zuma, The Guardian reported. It comes at a time when the country’s ruling party, the African National Congress, has announced its decision to remove Zuma from the presidential post.
The Indian-born Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – have been accused of “state capture”, a term coined to describe how the family allegedly used its relationship with Zuma to influence state contracts, Cabinet appointments and secure several multimillion-dollar deals in the country. The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.
Police spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said the raids were part of an ongoing investigation into the allegations that the Guptas were influencing the government. “We’re viewing this investigation in a very serious light,” Mulaudzi said. “We’re not playing around in terms of making sure that those who are responsible in the so-called ‘state capture’, they take responsibility for it.”
Police officers said the area was a crime scene, and blocked off access to the street. The police added that the raids resulted in three arrests.
After announcing its decision to remove Zuma from the presidential post, the ruling party said its current chief and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will take over the presidency. However, Zuma has refused to step down.
Zuma has been accused, among other things, of using government money to build a luxurious private home. Under his rule, economic growth slowed down and unemployment reached record low levels.
While Zuma continues to deny any wrongdoing, he has been facing a major challenge ever since Ramaphosa was elected in December 2017 to succeed him as the leader of the African National Congress. The leader of the ANC, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid, is considered the most powerful person in the country.