SA police raid home of Zuma associates in influence-peddling probe

President Jacob Zuma gestures as he addresses parliament in Cape Town, South Africa November 2, 2017. /REUTERS

South African police raided the family home of businessmen friends of President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday.

The raid took place amid a probe into allegations that the family used their links with the president to win state contracts and influence Cabinet appointments.

The raid by the specialist Hawks police unit on the family home of the Guptas came a day after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) ordered Zuma to step down as head of state after nine years in office dogged by scandal and a stagnant economy.

A dozen heavily armed tactical police blocked off a street leading to the Gupta home in Johannesburg. A police officer told Reuters: “This is a crime scene.”

Zuma and the Guptas – a family of wealthy Indian-born businessmen – deny any wrongdoing.

A lawyer for the Gupta family said he could not comment on the raid because he had yet to see the search warrant.

Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said the raid was part of an investigation into allegations of influence peddling in the government. The allegations are also the subject of a judicial inquiry on wider corruption.

“We’re viewing this investigation in a very serious light. 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,” Mulaudzi said.

He declined to give details of what was seized or if the business premises of the Guptas would also be raided, saying a full statement would be released later on Wednesday.

Zuma was expected to respond on Wednesday to an order from the ANC to resign as head of state, party officials said. More: