Heavily armed South African police raided the luxury home of the Gupta family on Wednesday as part of a probe into allegations the three brothers had corrupt links with President Jacob Zuma, who has been ordered by the ruling ANC to quit as head of state.
The raid marks a dramatic escalation in the pressure on Zuma and the political faction around him accused of milking state resources for their own ends. However, it remains unclear whether the 75-year-old will throw in the towel, or dig in deeper.
The early morning raid, which the police's elite Hawks unit said resulted in three arrests, took place amid reports Zuma was preparing to tell South Africa he was stepping down after nine years in office dogged by scandal and economic stagnation.
The SABC, South Africa's state broadcaster, said a Gupta family member was among those detained.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said Zuma would speak at 0800 GMT and satellite trucks were in position at Pretoria's Union Buildings, the seat of government. However, Zuma's office denied there had been any "official communication" of an impending address.
Adding to the confusion, a copy of an email, purportedly from deputy presidential communications director Shadi Baloyi, circulated on Twitter telling Pretoria police that plans for a "special media briefing" by Zuma at 0800 GMT at the Union Buildings had been cancelled.
"Kindly ignore my earlier request, as the briefing will not take place tomorrow," Baloyi wrote. Reuters was unable to confirm the email's authenticity and Baloyi did not answer her phone or respond to text messages.
Zuma's spokesman did not answer his phone.