Who are the Guptas?
Following the recent outrage in South Africa when a plane carrying Indian guests to a Gupta family wedding landed at a military air base, the BBC's Milton Nkosi asks: Who are the Guptas and how close are their links to President Jacob Zuma?
Brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh (also known as Tony) Gupta, all in their 40s, relocated to South Africa from India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh in Saharanpur in 1993, just as white minority rule was ending and the country was opening up to the rest of the world.
Family spokesman Haranath Ghosh told the BBC by email 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.
It is said that when Atul arrived in Africa's largest economy and he set up the family business Sahara Computers, which distributes hardware, he was amazed at the lack of red tape compared to India.Helicopter pad
They were small businessmen back home but their parent company Sahara Group - which has no links to the Indian giant of the same name - 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, works for the Guptas
- Duduzile Zuma, his daughter, was a director at Sahara Computers
- Duduzane Zuma, a son, is a director in some Gupta-owned companies
As well as computers, they have interests in mining, air travel, energy, technology and media.
Atul says they met President Zuma 10 years ago "when he was a guest in one of Sahara's annual functions".
Although they do not figure on any continental rich list, there is no doubt that they are extremely wealthy.
Their heavily guarded family Sahara Estate in Johannesburg's affluent Saxonwold suburb comprises at least four mansions which can be seen from the tree-lined avenue. The estate is now valued at about 52m rand ($3.7m; £5.7m).
The complex even boasts a helicopter pad, while 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.
Asked how much they were worth by South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper, another family spokesperson, Gary Naidoo, said:
"We respectfully decline to respond. As a private company, our strategies are closely guarded, as we operate in industries where our margins are wafer-thin."Police escort
If there was one thing that has united all South Africans in recent weeks, just like the Fifa World Cup did in 2010, it was the condemnation of the Gupta's family plane landing at the Waterkloof Air Base near Pretoria.
The governing African National Congress (ANC) concurred with the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) that this was a blatant abuse of power by a family that enjoys a cosy relationship with South Africa's first family.
The ANC in a statement demanded that those responsible for giving the family permission to come into the country without going through the normal channels be "brought to book".
The Guptas, while insistent that they had done nothing wrong, have issued an apology.
"In light of what happened, the family would like to issue a general apology to all affected, including the South African and Indian governments, the local authorities, the South African public and especially our guests," Atul Gupta said in a statement.
He added that his family was "simply trying to give [our] daughter... a memorable wedding on South African soil".
The Guptas at a glance
- Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta moved to South African from India in 1993
- Atul is said to have set up their first business Sahara Computers, which now has an annual turnover of 200m rand ($22m; £14.3m)
- Business interests also include air travel, energy, technology and media
- No clear indication of their net worth - they are not featured on any list of the continent's richest
The wedding was between Vega Gupta, daughter of the brothers' sister Achla, to Aakash Jahajgarhia, 24, a Delhi businessman.
The 200 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.
So what gave the Gupta family the confidence to even think of requesting to land their chartered Airbus A330 at an Air Force Base, which is normally reserved for visiting heads of state and diplomatic delegations?
Some believe it is because one of President Zuma's wives, Bongi Ngema-Zuma, works for the Guptas and that they reportedly paid for her 3.8m rand ($417,000; £272,000) Pretoria mansion. The Guptas deny paying for Mrs Ngema-Zuma's home.
One of Mr Zuma's sons, Duduzane, is also a director in some of the Gupta family companies.
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 has since resigned.'Ashamed'
The Sunday Times newspaper reported this week that the Guptas demanded to be given diplomatic passports, arguing last year that they regularly travelled with President Zuma on business trips abroad "promoting South Africa", but the request was rejected.
End Quote Jackson Mthembu ANC spokesman
South Africa is not a banana republic”
The Department of International Relations and Co-operation did not deny the story.
"We get approached by all sorts of individuals all the time enquiring whether they qualify for diplomatic passports... for those who don't qualify, the department is very clear in saying 'No'," its spokesman Clayson Monyela told the BBC.
A Gupta spokesman said the reports were "a determined drive to malign the family".
Despite the close family ties, those who have been following this story closely say President Zuma was not impressed.
"President Zuma is embarrassed and ashamed but he's not ready to come out to distance himself from the Guptas," Sunday Times Political Editor Sthembiso Msomi told the BBC.
It is not clear how much money, if any, the Guptas have donated to the ruling party because political parties are not obliged to disclose donations, especially from private sources.
The Guptas courted his predecessor's administration as well but ex-President Thabo Mbeki played a guarded game with the Guptas and the relationship did not go far.
And opposition leader Helen Zille has also enjoyed a "delicious" meal at the Gupta's compound and received a donation for the DA.
Sources in the ruling party are telling me that Mr Zuma was livid when he heard about the plane.
Given that he is a year away from a crucial election, he is likely to cut the Guptas loose, even if he needs their funding.
He needs to reassure his furious colleagues in the National Executive Committee of the ANC that this shambles will not happen again.
He will also need to send a clear message to his constituency that he is serious about tackling corruption.
As the ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu bluntly put it: "South Africa is not a banana republic".