VIDEO: GUPTA AND COLLEAGUES ARRESTED AFTER RAIDDate: 2018-02-14
The oldest brother, Ajay, from the controversial Gupta family, has been arrested and taken in for questioning after a raid by South Africa's elite police unit, the Hawks, on their Saxonwold home.
Early this morning, armed police arrived at the Gupta compound which sits opposite the lion enclosure of Johannesburg Zoo.
As the investigation into so-called state capture continues, Ajay and two business associates were arrested on Wednesday morning with two others expected to hand themselves over to the police.
The Gupta family, with their close ties to President Jacob Zuma, have been accused of exercising enormous political influence for their business interests – all of which they deny.
A statement released to the South African media says the raids were carried out in connection with the Vrede farm investigation, in particular, the Estina dairy farm in the Free State. It is alleged that the Gupta's pocketed millions of dollars that were destined for poor black farmers.
Last year, a damaging barrage of over 100 000 leaked emails revealed not only the extent the family had exerted their influence but also that some of the syphoned money paid for the family's lavish wedding at Sun City, a South African upmarket holiday and golf resort.
In December, Free State Premier, Ace Magashule, was elected secretary-general of the ruling ANC. Shortly afterwards, in January, his offices were raided by the Hawks, looking for documents linked to the Vrede Farm project.
Even before the email leak, things had started unravelling for the family. In 2016, Former Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas, came forward with allegations that he was offered the finance minister's position, as well as a hefty sum of R600m, deposited into his account by the Gupta's – on condition he did what they said.
Following that bombshell, the Public Protectors office, headed by Thuli Madonsela, submitted a damning report that accused the Guptas and President Zuma of colluding to win government contracts, kickbacks and money laundering.
The link between Zuma and the Gupta's is part of the reason the President is facing pressure to resign. Later today, he is expected to respond to a formal request from the African National Congress (ANC) to resign.
With the news of the arrests on everyone's lips this Valentine's day, locals at the scene praised the police action.
Speaking to local media, Tess Turvey said, "It's very emotional for all South Africans. This is about getting South Africa right again."
Another man who was walking his dogs added, "This is real meaningful change. I certainly don't think it would have happened if Zuma was still president of the ANC."
Check out the video of an SABC broadcast from earlier.