Members of the Hawks swoop on the Gupta family compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg in an early morning operation on Wednesday. PHOTOS: Getrude Makhafola.
Members of the Hawks swoop on the Gupta family compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg in an early morning operation on Wednesday. PHOTOS: Getrude Makhafola.

South Africa's elite Hawks police unit on Wednesday confirmed arresting three people in a raid on the Johannesburg home of the Gupta family, who are friends of President Jacob Zuma, and said they were conducting operations at more premises and expected further arrests.

The clampdown came as Zuma clung to power, despite a directive from the ruling African National Congress to step down.

The Hawks, officially known as the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation, said the raid on the Gupta family's compound in leafy Saxonwold was related to the family's alleged embezzling of funds destined for a dairy farm in Free State province.

''The operation is in respect of the Vrede [dairy] farm investigations. So far three people have been arrested and two other suspects are expected to hand themselves over to the Hawks. Operations are still ongoing and further details will be made available at a later stage.'' 

One of those arrested was reportedly a member of the Gupta family. 

At least R200 million in funds meant for emerging black farmers at the Estina diary project in the Free State allegedly flowed into the banks accounts of the family. Some of the money was allegedly used to pay for a lavish family wedding at Sun City in 2013.  

The Guptas have a close relationship with Zuma and his family. They are accused of using undue influence to secure lucrative contracts with state-owned enterprises.

The family is being investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies who are hunting for more than R50 billion allegedly looted from parastatals.

Following a damning report by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and a trail of leaked emails detailing the extent of the corruption, Zuma came under pressure to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations. This week, the ANC informed him that he was being recalled from the presidency after nearly nine years in power.