In a tumultuous session of Parliament, South Africa's president has rejected allegations that he is influenced by a wealthy business family, saying that he is in charge of the government and the appointment of Cabinet ministers.

President Jacob Zuma was responding to a question from an opposition leader about an allegation by the country's deputy finance minister that the wealthy, politically connected Gupta family directly offered him the finance minister job, replacing Nhlanhla Nene, who was sacked in December.

Zuma said it is he who appoints ministers, in line with the Constitution.

Lawmakers from the main opposition group, the Democratic Alliance, walked out of Parliament to protest the alleged influence of the Gupta family over Zuma, which they describe as a threat to the integrity of the government.