Southern Africa: Afriforum Heads to Court Over Grace Mugabe Decision

Grace Mugabe and Gabriella Engels

The North Gauteng High Court is expected to hear an application by lobby group AfriForum against the decision of the minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to grant diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwe's former first lady Grace Mugabe.

The application will be heard on Thursday and Friday.

In a statement, the organisation said various other institutions had brought similar applications and would join the proceedings as friends of the court.

"Should AfriForum be successful in having this diplomatic immunity to Mugabe set aside, it will pave the way for the [National Prosecuting Authority] to take steps to ultimately prosecute Mugabe," it said.

Last year, the 52-year-old wife of former president Robert Mugabe allegedly beat up model Gabriella Engels, 20, at a Johannesburg hotel where her two sons were staying.

Diplomatic tiff

Engels said she suffered deep cuts to her forehead and the back of her head.

The alleged attack threatened to spark a diplomatic tiff between the neighbouring countries that have strong political and economic ties.

Grace Mugabe allegedly arrived at the Capital 20 West Hotel with bodyguards and accused Engels of partying with her sons Robert and Chatunga, who are both in their 20s.

Pictures on social media appeared to show Engels bleeding from her head after the alleged assault at the hotel in the upmarket business district of Sandton.

Engels said she had been attacked with an electrical extension cord.

Gerrie Nel, who launched a private prosecuting authority funded by AfriForum after leaving the National Prosecuting Authority last year in January, previously announced that the organisation would represent and assist Engels during Mugabe's prosecution.

Source: News24

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