10/04/2016 An exterior view of the Gupta Residence in Johannesburg. Picture : Simone Kley

Johannesburg - The residences of the Gupta family in Saxonwold remained heavily guarded on Sunday - even though there were reports that they have left South Africa.

The City Press reported that brothers Atul and Ajay Gupta left for Dubai last week from Lanseria Airport in their luxurious private jet, carrying a mountain of suitcases together with the wife of one of their brothers and five assistants.

"The whole family is in the process of leaving," family spokesman Nazeem Howa told the City Press weekly.

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On Friday, Atul and Ajay resigned all their directorships. So did their business associate President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma.

This comes after four South African major banks, First National Bank, Absa, Standard Bank and Nedbank dropped Gupta-owned Oakbay Resources.

Absa’s decision to drop Oakbay Resources was taken in December last year, but only communicated in April 2016.

"It is with deep regret that, following a period of sustained political attack on the Gupta family and our businesses... we have come to the conclusion that it is time for the Gupta family to step down from all executive and non-executive positions," said a statement released on Friday, which was signed by Howa, Oakbay's chief executive.

"This follows the unexplained decisions by several of our banking partners and our auditors to cease working with us, and the continued press coverage of false allegations."

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The closure of the bank accounts had made it "virtually impossible to continue to do business in South Africa," the letter said.

In an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest on Friday night, Howa said being dropped by the banks meant Oakbay Resources might not be able to pay its staff.

On Sunday, when The Star visited their residence, four security guards clad in plain clothes sat on plastic garden chairs outside the property’s gate.

They eyed passing cars suspiciously. One man patrolled the circumference of the massive property.

When The Star asked the guards for comment, they said the family didn’t want to speak to anyone, inferring that the family were, in fact, at home.

When we asked if the family had left the country, one of the guards responded: “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers.”

Another one added: “If they weren’t here, we wouldn’t be here.”

They confirmed that they were security guards.

Peering through the large black gates, there appeared to be no action inside the property. There were no cars parked inside and no people were seen.

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The Star and AFP