Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

South African court overturns immunity for Grace Mugabe in assault case

FILE Former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe Grace Mugabe could stand trial for assault after immunity revoked
Andrew Cummings | 31 July, 2018, 12:56

Vally said, after considering the contents of the minister's answering affidavit, there was no doubt that "she came to the conclusion that it was in the national interests of South Africa that Dr Mugabe be clothed with the immunity".

A South African court ruled Monday that former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe did not have diplomatic immunity when she allegedly beat a young woman with an electrical cord.

The South Gauteng High Court set aside the decision by former global relations and cooperation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, reports TimesLive.

Mugabe was involved in a physical altercation with South African model Gabriella Engels past year, when Mugabe had found her in a Sandton hotel with her two sons.

He said there were global treaties that can be relied upon to ensure that Mugabe returns to South Africa to face charges.

In papers filed in the High Court, Ms Engels said Ms Nkoana-Mashabane had "misconstrued her powers".

"From the start we said the diplomatic immunity that was given to Mrs Mugabe was unlawful. Even if the NPA decides not to prosecute, we will have the ability to go the route of a private prosecution with advocate Gerrie Nel", Kriel pointed out.

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The International Relations Department claimed that it did not grant the immunity, but rather recognised it under international law.

"The Mugabes have a house in Sandton that's worth more than R40million". We are confident that there will be ways to get her (back) into the country.

"We have actually not seen the docket in this case, so we have no way of knowing what the evidence (against Grace Mugabe) actually is", NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane told Business Day.

"The ball is in their court now", Spies said, adding that Afriforum had argued that Grace Mugabe committed the attack on Engles while she was on a private visit to South Africa and therefore did not qualify for diplomatic immunity. "Due processes will follow", Naidoo said.

The DA's federal council chairperson James Selfe also attended the judgment.

He said if the NPA decided not to prosecute, Afriforum would look at privately prosecuting her.

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