South African police raid home of Zuma associates

South African police on Wednesday raided the home of the Guptas, a prominent family with business ties to President Jacob Zuma. The raid took place amid the investigation into allegations that the Guptas used their connections to influence cabinet appointments and win state contracts.

The raid conducted by the specialist Hawks police comes a day after the ruling party ANC ordered President Zuma to step down as head of the country.

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’s presidency has been marred by corruption scandals, slow economic growth and record unemployment that have fuelled public anger.

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

According to Hawks lawyer, Hangwani Mulaudzi, the raid is part of an investigation into allegations of influence peddling in the government.

“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.

The ANC party on Tuesday decided to “recall” Zuma but did not give him a deadline to resign.

According to party officials, Zuma was expected to respond to the order to resign on Wednesday.

Zuma is already facing a no-confidence motion in parliament, brought by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters and set for Febuary 22.