SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE RAID GUPTA HOME
Three people held, up to seven more likely to be arrested including some Gupta family members
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. 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. It remains unclear whether the 75-year-old will throw in the towel, or dig in deeper.
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s ruling party ANC on Wednesday unveiled plans to sack President Jacob Zuma via a parliamentary no-confidence vote, hours after armed police raided the luxury home of his Indian-origin friends, the Gupta brothers.
Zuma fought back against the order from the African National Congress to immediately resign over corruption, saying he had been unfairly treated and was given no reason for quitting.
Local media reported that Ajay Gupta, the eldest of the Gupta brothers, and one or two of the family’s associates were officially under arrest after the early morning raid in which the police’s elite Hawks unit took part. But a lawyer denied this
“The media has got it wrong. None of the Gupta brothers have been arrested. I can’t tell you who has been arrested,” the lawyer representing the family told Reuters. City Press newspaper reported that Ajay Gupta has been arrested, adding that authorities were hunting for Zuma’s son, Duduzane. It also said that Atul Gupta was in talks with the Hawks to hand himself over.
The early morning raid marked a dramatic escalation in the pressure on Zuma and the political faction around him accused of milking state resources for their own ends. Zuma, 75, denies any wrongdoing.
With the ANC backing an opposition-led no-confidence motion likely to be heard on Thursday, Zuma appears to have run out of fuel after nine years in office dogged by scandal and economic stagnation.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, whose election as head of the ANC in December marked the beginning of the end of Zuma’s tenure, could be sworn in as head of state as early as Friday. “After we have voted for the removal of the President of the Republic tomorrow – and depending on the availability of the Chief Justice – we will also elect a new president,” Mthembu said.
The speed of Zuma’s downfall after two weeks of dithering by the ANC has stunned South Africa. In a rambling 45-minute interview on Wednesday, Zuma did not directly refuse to resign, but said he disagreed with “the manner in which the decision is being implemented.”
“It was very unfair to me that this issue is raised,” he said. “Nobody has ever provided the reasons. Nobody is saying what I have done.”
He repeatedly said he was not defying the ANC leadership, but added that “I don’t agree, as there is no evidence of if I have done anything wrong.”