JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 16 – Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe invoked diplomatic immunity after a case of assault was opened against her by 20-year old model Gabriella Engels in South Africa.
Engels told South African news media that Mugabe had attacked her after the model had gone to see Robert and Chatunga Mugabe (Grace’s Sons) at a hotel in Johannesburg’s affluent Sandton district on Sunday.
Mugabe was in South Africa to have a foot examination, and according to News24 website, Engel 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.”
It is unclear what triggered the incident, and various social media platforms have published a picture of a woman with a scar on her forehead believed to be Engels.
A press release in possession of Namibia Daily News states that Grace was to present herself to the SAPS Police Station in Sandton yesterday, 15 August at 10h00.
“The time scheduled was changed several times. By end of business yesterday she had failed to present herself as arranged. Her attorneys and government of Zimbabwe representatives did arrive at the Police Station in Sandton for channels of cooperation.
“The purpose of the arrangement was to obtain a warning statement, obtain the suspects version if any and present the docket to NPA for a decision whether to prosecute or not,” read the statement.
Furthermore, the statement said that Grace’s lawyers and government representatives made verbal representations to SAPS investigators that she wish to invoke diplomatic immunity cover and thus elected to change her mind about the warning statement.
“Subsequently, the Government of Zimbabwe has dispatched a diplomatic note verbale to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation invoking said Diplomatic Immunity cover.
“The suspect remains in South Africa and has not departed the Republic, we are advised her itinerary includes amongst private matters her attendance and participation at the scheduled SADC Heads of States/Governments Summit and Bi-lateral Diplomatic Meetings already underway in Pretoria.
“Discussions with the suspects lawyers and the Zimbabwean High Commission representatives are taking place to make sure that the suspect is processed through the legal system. – NDN Staffer