With Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe physically in South Africa and personally pulling the strings, South Africa has granted diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe, allowing her to return to Harare and avoid prosecution for the alleged assault of a 20-year-old model. News about the immunity came as South African police put border posts on “red alert” to prevent her fleeing.
The police had indicated she would receive no special treatment in the case involving Gabriella Engels, who says Mugabe whipped her with an electric extension cable. A security source, however, said immunity had been granted.
A senior government source said on Friday there was “no way” Grace Mugabe, 52, would be arrested because of the diplomatic fallout that would ensue from Zimbabwe.
Indeed, the 93-year old Robert Mugabe himself arrived two days early in Pretoria for a regional southern African summit this week to help resolve his wife’s legal problems.
The government source accepted the view widely held by legal experts that Grace Mugabe was not entitled to immunity because she was in South Africa for medical treatment, and said the government was expecting her immunity to be challenged in court.
However, Pretoria reportedly justified its decision because of other countries in southern Africa that supported South Africa’s ruling ANC in the long struggle against apartheid would also see Grace Mugabe’s prosecution as a betrayal.
“There would obviously be implications for our relations with Zimbabwe. Sadly the other countries in the region are watching us and how we are going to act,” the source said, asking not to be named.
“What is likely to happen is that she will be allowed to go back home, and then we announce that we’ve granted diplomatic immunity and wait for somebody to challenge us.”
Engels’ mother Debbie, who released photographs of her daughter with gashes to her head requiring 14 stitches, said it would be “very sad” if Grace Mugabe was allowed to leave.
The Engels incident is not the first time Grace Mugabe — who is lauded in official Zimbabwean media as “Mother of the Nation” – has been in legal hot water.
In 2009, a newspaper photographer in Hong Kong said Grace and her bodyguard had assaulted him. Police said the incident was reported but no charges were brought
Victim Offered Cash To Make Fugitive Grace Mugabe Assault Charge “Go Away” – Lawyer
A “red alert” has also been put out at the country’s borders for fugitive Grace Mugabe, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula told reporters even as a lawyer revealed that the 20-year-old South African model, Gabriella Engels, that Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe is alleged to have assaulted was offered cash to make potential charges “go away”.
Police have said they were also on high alert to make sure that Grace Mugabe, the 52-year-old wife of President Robert Mugabe does not skip the country, with an arrest warrant reportedly being considered. Grace Mugabe is alleged to have hit Gabriella Engels on Sunday at a Johannesburg hotel. Gabriella Engels appeared at a press conference Thursday, wearing a large plaster on the left side of her forehead.
Her “family has been approached by a third party to accept an amount of money to settle this” said Gerrie Nel, the advocate best known for his prosecution of fallen athlete Oscar Pistorius.
They were told “let us talk and this can go away. There was no amount mentioned,” said Nel, flanked by Engels and her mother.
“The family is not interested in doing this,” added Nel, who became famous for leading the prosecution of Paralympian Pistorius who in 2015 was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend.
South African police have said that The Zimbabwean government is seeking immunity for Grace Mugabe, who was not in the country on a diplomatic passport.
Grace Mugabe came to South AFrica on a non-diplomatic passport to have her ankle checked following a freak accident at Harare airport last month
Nel said an officer investigating the case had told Engels on Thursday that “they would now apply for a warrant” (of arrest).
President Mugabe flew into South Africa late Wednesday, two days ahead of a regional summit which starts on Saturday, giving rise to speculation that he arrived early so that he could put pressure on South African leader Jacob Zuma to exert influence on the case for his wife.
Zimbabwe Requests Diplomatic Immunity For Fugitive Grace Mugabe – South Africa Police
Zimbabwe has requested diplomatic immunity for the fugitive first lady, Grace Mugabe, after she was accused of assaulting a model at a hotel in Johannesburg, according to a statement from South Africa’s police ministry. The suspect’s lawyers “and her government representatives made verbal representations … that the suspect wished to invoke diplomatic immunity cover”, it said.
The statement also confirmed that the wife of the 93-year-old Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe it still in hiding in South Africa, despite reports that she had returned home after failing to turn herself in to face charges of assault.
Mugabe is accused of attacking 20-year-old Gabriella Engels with an electrical extension cord after the model went to see the Mugabes’ sons Robert and Chatunga at the Capital 20 West Hotel in Johannesburg’s upmarket Sandton district on Sunday.
Wanted For Assault By South Africa Police: Zimbabwe’s First lady, Grace Mugabe “Escapes”
Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe has not surrendered to South African police, to face a criminal charge for assaulting a 20 year-old model, Gabriella Engels. Indeed, she has evaded police radar, according to news reports from South Africa. Her disappearance debunked an earlier statement by Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, who had said Mugabe handed herself over to the police.
“[She] is not under arrest because she co-operated, and handed herself over to police,” Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said earlier on Tuesday.
But the police later revised their story.
“The negotiations over the suspect handing herself over have not concluded and our investigations have not finalised,” police national spokesman Vishnu Naidoo said later.
Without naming Mugabe, national police confirmed that a case of with intent to do grievous bodily harm was opened against a “prominent woman” after the alleged assault at a hotel in Sandton.
“The investigation into this case has already reached an advanced stage. The suspect in this matter cannot be named because she has not as yet appeared in court. We request that the SAPS be allowed to conduct a thorough investigation and to follow due process,” Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said in a statement.
ROBERT MUGABE, GRACE MUGABE AND GABRIELLA ENGELS
Naidoo also said a court appearance for Grace Mugabe is not yet on the table.
“As long as we don’t have a suspect in custody, we cannot say when they will appear in court. The minister learned later that it just didn’t materialise as it was supposed to,” Naidoo said.
Charged With Assault: Zimbabwe’s First lady, Grace Mugabe Turns Herself In To South Africa Police
Zimbabwe’s first lady,Grace Mugabe, who handed herself in to South African police on Tuesday has cooperated with police and will be charged with assault the police minister, Fikile Mbalula has said. This followed reports that she attacked a young woman in Johannesburg, .
South African media said Grace was in the country to have an injured foot examined. She was traveling on an ordinary non-diplomatic passport.
On whether she could be arrested while having diplomatic immunity, Mbalula said:
“All those implications will be taken into consideration.” He then added: “She will be charged. She is not under arrest because she cooperated and handed herself over to the police. But a case has been opened,” he said.
It was not clear at which court Grace would appear.
Zimbabwe’s First Lady, has allegedly beaten up 20-year-old model Gabriella Engels who had been visiting the Mugabes’ sons Robert and Chatunga at a hotel in Mzansi, the upmarket Sandton district over the weekend
The woman Gabriella Engels took to her Instagram to write about the incident:
“Rob jnr was put out of the hotel room and Bellermine ran away.“My two friends and I were beaten up in a room with 10+ men leaving her to do it.”She added in another tweet: “She split my head open in three places with an extension cord and used the plug to hit me.”
Gabriella Engels also said:
“When Grace entered, I had no idea who she was. She walked in with an extension cord and just started beating me with it. She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug. Over and over. I had no idea what was going on. I was surprised … I needed to crawl out of the room before I could run away…I am a model, with this scar over my face my whole career is ruined.”
Furthermore, the first lady while screaming and kicking her, grabbed Gabriella Engels by the dreadlocks and with the assistant of her aids, they beat her up
52-year-old Grace Mugabe is a possible successor to her husband, 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.