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Armed police raid Gupta family home

Brothers accused of having corrupt ties to Zuma, 3 arrested and more likely, say police

 

Policemen seal off roads around the Gupta family home in Johannesburg
on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Jacob Zuma

Johannesburg: Heavily armed South African police raided the luxury home of the Gupta family on Wednesday as part of a probe into allegations the three brothers had corrupt links to President Jacob Zuma, who has been ordered by the ruling ANC to quit as head of state.

In a rambling television interview, Zuma derided the decision and said he had been "victimised" by the party. He sidestepped any firm announcement of his own fate, neither accepting the order to go nor indicating that he would still seek a way to defy it.

The raid marks a dramatic escalation in the pressure on Zuma and the political faction around him accused of milking state resources for their own ends.

The early morning raid, which the police's elite Hawks unit said resulted in three arrests, took place amid reports Zuma was preparing to tell South Africa he was stepping down after nine years in office dogged by scandal and economic stagnation.

The SABC, South Africa's state broadcaster, said a Gupta family member was among those detained. A senior judicial source said police expected to arrest up to seven more people and that top Gupta family members would be among them.

"You can't bring a matter of this nature to court and not charge the people who have benefitted the most," the source, who has knowledge of the police's moves, said.

However, a Gupta family lawyer told Reuters none of the Gupta brothers were among those held. "I can't tell you who has been arrested," the lawyer said. Zuma and the Guptas - a family of wealthy Indian-born businessmen - deny any wrongdoing.

Shortly after dawn, a dozen Hawks police officers sealed off a street leading to the Gupta mansion in Johannesburg's upscale Saxonwold suburb. One blocked access to Reuters, saying: "This is a crime scene."

Minutes later, an unmarked police van left the compound as residents applauded police officers and hurled abuse at security guards for the Guptas.

"Finally something is being done about it," said Tessa Turvey. Reuters

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