Grace Mugabe Granted Diplomatic Immunity After Assault Claim
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, Reuters has reported quoting a security source.
A security source said immunity had been granted.
The source also said Grace Mugabe failed to turn up at a Johannesburg court hearing on Tuesday because of concerns she could be attacked.
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.
However, her daughter’s legal team which includes Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor who secured a murder conviction against Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius — would counter such a move, she said.
“Gerrie Nel and the team have contingency plans,” she told Reuters, without elaborating. “They will run with it.”
Afriforum, an Afrikaans rights group that Nel joined in January after quitting as a state prosecutor, said it would be illegal for Pretoria to give Mugabe immunity and branded the plans a “disgrace”.
“The government has two responsibilities: one, to protect its own citizens and two, to act according to the law. And the granting of diplomatic immunity would transgress the law,” chief executive Kallie Kriel said.
Harare has made no official comment on the saga and requests for comment from Zimbabwean government officials have gone unanswered. The South African government has restricted all official comment to the police ministry.