Gupta Home Raided, Three Arrested, Zuma Asked to Resign

South African authorities arrested Wednesday a member of the Gupta family during an early morning raid of their luxury home in an upscale Johannesburg neighborhood. The Guptas have been accused of state capture in collaboration with President Jacob Zuma, who is under pressure to resign. 

Zuma copyPresident Jacob Zuma was asked by the ANC to resign on Tuesday (Photo: Matthew Jordaan, CC BY-SA 2.0)A police officer, blocking off access to the Gupta’s street, told a Reuters reporter, “This is a crime scene.”

Officials say three people were arrested as part of an investigation into the wealthy, Indian-born Guptas.

Just a day before, the African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling party, called on Zuma to step down but he remains defiant, claiming there is no reason for it, according to the BBC.

Zuma’s eight-year tenure as president has been rocked by corruption scandals. He faces 783 corruption charges just related to a multi-billion dollar state arms deal he made in the 1990s, according to Reuters.

He has since faced public scrutiny for using public money to remodel his house, and allowing the influential businessmen and family friends, the Gupta brothers, bribe him, enrich themselves and influence cabinet appointments.

Allegedly during Zuma’s tenure, state funds meant to help poor black farmers were pocketed by the Gupta family and used to pay for an extravagant wedding‚ to acquire a private jet and to purchase a fleet of luxury cars. Tens of millions allegedly flowed to a shelf company in Dubai, according to Reuters.

The ANC party has been trying for months to supplant Zuma, voting in December to replace him as party head with deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. Over the past week, Ramaphosa has held several meetings with Zuma, hoping to prompt his resignation from the presidency without provoking total confrontation.

The ANC’s vote is not legally binding so the party’s parliamentary representatives have agreed to schedule a vote of no confidence against Zuma for Thursday afternoon, according to Business Day, a South African newspaper.

Zuma has survived several no-confidence votes in the past thanks to loyal voting from ANC parliamentarians, who make up the majority, according to Reuters. However, he can no longer count on his party’s support.

Some South Africans welcomed the Gupta raid and the arrests.

"This is real meaningful change,”  a man told the BBC, walking his dogs near the Gupta home. “I certainly don't think it would have happened if Zuma was still president of the ANC."

Signs of law enforcement mobilizing against the Guptas, and by association Zuma, caused the rand to strengthen 0.5 percent against the dollar, Reuters reported. The currency has tended to gain ground on any sign of Zuma's political departure approaching.

“If you put a man of integrity in the Union Building (South Africa’s seat of government), he doesn’t have to build us a rocket the next week,” Ralph Mathekga, an independent political analyst told The Washington Post. “He just needs to close the tap on corruption.”