March 22 2018

Opposition MPs push for inquiry into Grace Mugabe assault fiasco

March 22 2018, 04:00 | Sammy Rose

The Mugabe boys always have the readies for expensive imported tipple

The Mugabe boys always have the readies for expensive imported tipple

Lawyers representing a young woman who has accused Zimbabwe's first lady, Grace Mugabe, of assaulting her in a Johannesburg hotel have expressed their outrage over reported plans by the South African government to grant Ms Mugabe diplomatic immunity.

Gabriella Engels, a 20-year-old model, said Grace Mugabe attacked her on August 13, whipping her with an extension cord that cut her forehead.

South African authorities are weighing a request by Zimbabwe's government for diplomatic immunity for the first lady, who has not commented.

South Africa's foreign ministry said that International Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had "agonised over the matter".

She (Grace Mugabe) has caused a cyber-storm and diplomatic unease following the confrontation with 20-year model, Gabriella Engels in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Zimbabwe First Lady Grace Mugabe recently traveled to South Africa, reportedly to address issues with her two sons, Robert and Chatunga.

The alleged beatdown left Engels with a nasty gash on her forehead that required 14 stitches.

The first lady's whereabouts are not known but she is believed to still be in South Africa.

AfriForum is now applying to have the decision to grant Mugabe diplomatic immunity reviewed.

A Zimbabwean intelligence source told Reuters she was not travelling on a diplomatic passport.

She further alleges that Grace walked in, along with her bodyguards, with a cord wrapped around her hand and started attacking them.

The group vowed to help Engels seek justice, adding that even if the court did not accept to overrule the immunity, the effort would still be positive as it could stop Grace Mugabe from visiting South Africa again.

The inquiry should call on the ministers of police, global relations and co-operation, and defence and military veterans to account for their failures, he said.

"When Gaby-and-them heard that the girl with whom her friend had had a fight was in the room next door, they said they weren't staying".

But Willie Spies, an AfriForum attorney, said the decision was taken irrationally and unlawfully and this would be the basis of their application to have it reviewed by the High Court in Pretoria in the next week.

"She is living in fear actually to go out into the public now".

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive David Chawota did not specify the "issues" requiring attention.

It then concludes by saying, "the Department wishes to convey the message that the minister has agonised over this matter and the decision was not an easy one to make".

Gerrie Nel - the prosecutor seen by millions around the world in the Oscar Pistorius case - spoke to the media.

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