South Africa's ruling party African National Congress (ANC) has denied President Jacob Zuma offered to resign following mounting pressure over corruption allegations. The president has been widely criticised for his close ties with the Guptas, a wealthy Indian family accused of wielding excessive political influence in the African country.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa told Reuters reports by South Africa's Mail & Guardian and Sowetan newspapers claiming Zuma offered to step down were "untrue". The allegations came a few days after the ANC confirmed it had full confidence in Zuma.
Who are the Guptas?
In 1993, brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh (also known as "Tony") left their home country in India's Uttar Pradesh state and emigrated to South Africa, where they set up the family business Sahara Computers.
The Guptas and then vice-president Jacob Zuma met for the first time at the Sahara Estate in 2003. Zuma has often been accused of having close ties with the Guptas and allowing them to influence the country's political scene.
Some refer to the relationship between the president and the family by the portmanteau "Zupta". The scandal involving the family has been branded "Guptagate".
Read more about the Gupta family.
The statement was released as several officials claimed they were offered ministerial positions by the Guptas or were removed from their offices after refusing to accomodate the requests of the Indian magnates.
The Guptas denied the allegations and Zuma said during a parliamentary session on 17 March that no minister was ever appointed by the family.
The country's anti-corruption watchdog said it might seek state funds to investigate the relationship between the family and Zuma, who admitted the Guptas are his friends, but said their was nothing improper about their friendship.
Some analysts believe the president, who has been urged by the opposition to resign, will lose the trust of influential members within the ANC due to the prolonged allegations of corruption and growing discontent.
However, Stephen Chan, a leading academic specializing in South African affairs at London's Soas university, told IBTImes UK the mounting problems are unlikely to result in the ANC opting for a change of leader.