President Jacob Zuma has been accused of allowing members of the Indian-born Gupta family influence his government.
Now the big question is, Who are the Guptas and how close are their links to President Zuma?
Ajay, Atul and Rajesh (also known as Tony) Gupta, all in their 40s, relocated to South Africa from India in 1993.
Gupta family spokesman Haranath Ghosh that their father, Shiv Kumar Gupta sent Atul to South Africa, believing that Africa was about to become the “America of the world” – the world’s land of opportunity.
When Atul arrived in SA, he set up the family business Sahara Computers, he was amazed at the lack of red tape compared to India.
The company Sahara Group now has an annual turnover of about 200m rand ($22m; £14.3m) and employs some 10,000 people.
The Zumas and the Guptas – the Zuptas.
• Bongi Ngema-Zuma, one of the president’s wives, used to work for the Gupta-controlled JIC Mining Services as a communications officer
• Duduzile Zuma, his daughter, was a director at Sahara Computers.
• Duduzane Zuma, a son, was a director of some Gupta-owned companies but stepped down earlier this year following the public pressure.
The Guptas seems to be everywhere. They have interests in computers, mining, air travel, energy, technology and media.
The oldest Gupta, Atul said they met President Zuma more than 10 years ago “when he was a guest in one of Sahara’s annual functions”.
Their heavily guarded family Sahara Estate in Johannesburg’s affluent Saxonwold suburb comprises at least four mansions.
The estate is now valued at about 52m rand.The complex even boasts a helicopter pad. The family enjoys the services of five personal chefs and regularly travels with bodyguards.
They also own the former Cape Town home of Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The family is accused of wielding a lot of political influence in South Africa, with critics alleging that it is trying to “capture the state” to advance its business interests.
In March 2016, Former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said that a member of the Gupta family had offered to promote him to the minister’s post in 2015.
Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor that she was offered the key post of Public Enterprise minister during a meeting at their Saxonwold mansion in 2010. She claimed that Mr Zuma was at the mansion when the offer was made.
Waterkloof Air Base;
In 2013 the Gupta family plane carrying wedding guests landed at the Waterkloof Air Base near Pretoria. The base is normally reserved for visiting heads of state and diplomatic delegations.
The African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) said this was a blatant abuse of power by a family that enjoys a cosy relationship with South Africa’s first family.
The Guptas at a glance.
• Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta moved to South Africa from India in 1993.
•According to Forbes, Atul is the Richest Coloured-skinned South African.
Atul is said to have set up their first business Sahara Computers, which now has an annual turnover of 200m rand.
• Business interests also include mining, computers, air travel, energy, technology and media.
• No clear indication of their net worth.
The 200 wedding guests, in a convoy of luxury vehicles, were given a police escort to the Sun City holiday resort in Rustenburg in the North West province.
The Guptas also enjoy some kind of heavily armed security details.
Blame to Pres. Zuma?
Some blame the Zuma family because one of President Zuma’s wives, Bongi Ngema-Zuma, worked for the Guptas and that they reportedly paid for her 3.8m rand Pretoria mansion.
One of Mr Zuma’s son, Duduzane, was a director in some of the Gupta family companies until he stepped down in April because of what he described as a “sustained political attack”.
The president’s daughter Duduzile Zuma was appointed as a director of Sahara Computers in 2008, six months after her father was elected as ANC president, although she too has since resigned.
Reported have it that the Guptas once demanded to be given diplomatic passports, arguing that they regularly travelled with President Zuma on business trips abroad “promoting South Africa”, but the request was rejected.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation did not deny the story.
Donations to the ANC;
It is not clear how much money, the Guptas have donated to the governing party because political parties are not obliged to disclose donations, especially from private sources. But a reliable ANC source, who denied to be mentioned said the family makes frequent big donations to the ANC especially during election time.
Relationship with Thabo Mbeki.
The Guptas courted ex-President Thabo Mbeki, but Mbeki played a guarded game with the Guptas and the relationship did not go far.
Relationship with the EFF.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party has called the family to leave South Africa, saying the country could not be held to ransom by a “corrupt cartel” with “mafia” tendencies.
Relationship with Pravin Gordhan.
Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has accused the family of being involved in “suspicious” transactions worth about $490m (£400m), which they deny.
In Summary, the family has been strongly defended by some of Mr Zuma’s close allies. giving them more reason to carry on with their businesses.
But there are deep divisions within the government over the family’s role and it is one of the reasons behind increasing calls for Mr Zuma to step down.
Amid the outcry, major banks said they would stop doing business with the Guptas.