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Grace Mugabe’s South Africa assault case ‘far from over’

August 24th, 2017 2 min read


The Grace Mugabe assault case in South Africa appears to be far from over.

A minority rights group AfriForum has filed a review application at the Pretoria High Court, while the International Relations minister, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, is set to explain to parliament her decision to grant the Zimbabwean First Lady diplomatic immunity.

Ms Nkoana-Mashabane’s move allowed Mrs Mugabe to leave South Africa despite being investigated for an alleged assault case on a model, Miss Gabriella Engels.

AfriForum has asked the court to set aside Ms Nkoana-Mashabane’s decision.

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel insists there were good grounds to believe that the application would be successful.

“If the review application is successful, the doors will be open for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prosecute Mrs Mugabe. If the NPA refuses to prosecute‚ AfriForum’s private prosecuting unit‚ under the leadership of Advocate Gerrie Nel‚ is ready to go ahead with private prosecution on behalf of Miss Engels. Whether Mrs Mugabe is in South Africa or not, and although diplomatic immunity has been granted to her‚ the last word has not been spoken regarding this matter‚” said Mr Kriel.


AfriForum argues that the minister failed to take into account that the alleged crime committed by Mrs Mugabe constitutes a serious crime as set out in the law.

Their affidavit also states that the Foreign States Immunities Act (1981) explicitly excludes the granting of immunity to heads of state who were guilty of the death or injury of people in South Africa.

On the other hand, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for a parliamentary inquiry into government’s failure to ensure Mrs Mugabe faced prosecution.

The parliamentary portfolio committee responsible for oversight of the department of International Relations has agreed to call the minister to explain her actions.

On Wednesday, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa evaded a question in parliament over the issue. He had been asked by the Inkatha Freedom Party parliamentarian Liezl van der Merwe whether he supported the decision to grant Mrs Mugabe immunity.


“The clarity that there is on this matter is not full and complete. In the sense that yes in certain environments it’s applied, in others, it’s not. So, it happens to have been applied here,” said Mr Ramaphosa.

Ms Engels claims she was attacked by Mrs Mugabe with an electrical extension cord after she found her with her two sons, Robert Jr, 25, and Chatunga Bellarmine, 21, at a Johannesburg hotel.
The Mugabe sons arrived in Johannesburg early this year after moving from Dubai.
Robert Jr is reportedly studying design at the University of Johannesburg, while it was unclear if Chatunga was studying.