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South Africa's Zuma expected to respond to 'recall' order

16 February 2018

Armed police raided the luxurious South African home of the Gupta family on Wednesday as part of an effort to confirm corruption allegations made against the brothers and controversial president Jacob Zuma, who was ordered to stand down as head of state by the ruling African National Congress on Tuesday.

Ajay Gupta was spotted outside the family's Optimum Coal Mine in Mpumalanga last week.

The Hawks say that they have identified 13 suspects in connection with charges of fraud and corruption, eight of whom are appearing in court today, two are still being sought, while three are overseas.

The 34-page indictment was presented in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on Wednesday‚ where the accused appeared under a heavy police guard.

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The charges relate to the theft of R220-million from the Free State agricultural department.

Howa‚ Gupta‚ Chawla‚ Vasrum and Gupta were released on R200‚000 bail each while Thebetha‚ Masiteng and Dlamini were each released on R10‚000 bail.

The matter was postponed to August 17 for further investigation.

Mbalula said because of the sensitivity and seriousness of these matters, it was not possible for the Hawks or his office to provide a minute-by-minute account of the investigations and asked the public to be patient. We spoke to his lawyers‚ he was meant to be surrendered but never did. Although those protecting him must know they are protecting a wanted suspect.

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This follows the Hawks raid on the Gupta family's Saxonwold compound in Johannesburg early on Wednesday morning.

The three brothers, Atul, Rajesh and Ajay, moved to South Africa in 1993 from India, just as white-minority rule was ending. The property is reportedly owned by a company co-owned by Zuma and the Guptas.

Duduzane is being sought for his alleged role in the fraud scandal at the Estina dairy farm at Vrede in the Free State, which saw politicians and businesspeople pocketing millions from the project earmarked for emerging black farmers.

The rand currency, which has gained ground whenever Zuma has hit political turbulence, soared more than one percent to a 2-1/2 year high of 11.66 against the dollar during the day, as pressure piled on Zuma to resign.

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

South Africa's Zuma expected to respond to 'recall' order