The South African government is divided on whether or not to charge Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace for assaulting a model in Sandton on Sunday. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula wants to charge her but International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane fears this will seriously damage South Africa's relations with Zimbabwe - and the continent, official sources say.
Zimbabwe has demanded diplomatic immunity for Zimbabwean first lady, Grace Mugabe and President Mugabe flew into South Africa on Wednesday to intervene. He was due to come here anyway for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit this week but seems to have come early to deal with his wife's problem.
Legal advisers in the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) are telling the government that Ms Mugabe does not quality for diplomatic immunity because she was in South Africa on a private visit when she allegedly beat 20-year-old Gabriella Engels with an electrical extension cord while the model was visiting the Mugabe's sons Robert and Chatunga.
Officials said that the Zimbabwean government was now trying to insert Grace Mugabe retrospectively into the country's official delegation to the SADC summit to justify seeking diplomatic immunity.