South Africa’s deputy finance minister has confirmed reports alleging that he was offered the position of finance minister by a member of the wealthy and controversial Gupta family.
Mcebisi Jonas says he rejected the offer, calling it “a mockery of our hard-earned democracy”.
The opposition has long accused President Jacob Zuma of letting the Guptas wield excessive influence.
The Indian-born family dismissed the allegations as political game-playing.
In 2013, there was a scandal after a private jet carrying guests to the wedding of a Gupta family member was allowed to land at a South African military air force base in Pretoria.
Analysis: Milton Nkosi, BBC News, Johannesburg
The allegations, confirmed by a serving minister, may well represent the lowest point of Mr Zuma’s presidency, which has already been beset by multiple corruption scandals.
South Africans have reacted with shock and dismay. Some are already calling for the president to resign.
It is very difficult to see how President Zuma can come out of this latest scandal unscathed.
The ANC’s national executive committee’s meeting this weekend will face a tough decision: Should it keep President Zuma as head of state?