JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling African National Congress said on Friday it is gravely concerned by media reports of leaked documents showing influence-peddling in government and wants the allegations investigated.
Some South African media reported on Thursday they had access to over 100,000 leaked documents and emails that showed improper dealings in lucrative government contracts by business friends of President Jacob Zuma.
The latest allegations of influence-peddling may deepen divisions in the ANC as factions battle for control ahead of a party conference in December where a successor to the beleaguered, scandal-plagued Zuma will be chosen.
Zuma and the Gupta family, wealthy Indian-born businessmen whose companies have contracts with state-owned firms, have not commented but have denied similar allegations in the past. Reuters could not independently verify the new allegations.
"These reports contain very worrying claims about the nature of the relationship between government and private interests," the ANC said in a statement, calling on government to urgently establish the veracity of the leaks.
"The ANC views these allegations in a very serious light as, if left unattended, they call into question the integrity and credibility of the government."
The statement appeared to contradict Zuma, who said at a parliamentary session on Thursday that he was not interested in "hearsay" published in newspapers, although he did not address the latest leaks directly.
Zuma has survived calls to resign from within the ANC in recent weeks due to disputes over political appointments and his friendship with the Gupta family.
(Reporting by Joe Brock and Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; editing by Mark Heinrich)