Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
17 Aug 2017
5:15 am

Grace ‘has immunity’ now that Bob is in town

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

A South African government source has confirmed to The Citizen that Grace Mugabe will be granted immunity.

Now we know why Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe put on a disappearing act on Tuesday – she just had to wait until her husband arranged diplomatic immunity for her so she would not be arrested for assault.

On Tuesday she should have appeared at a Johannesburg police station and, because she was in the country as an ordinary citizen, she could not claim diplomatic immunity.

Yesterday, however, she could do so after a request by the Zimbabwe government was timed to coincide with President Robert Mugabe’s arrival at Waterkloof Air Force base in Pretoria.

A South African government source confirmed yesterday that Grace would be given immunity, despite the fact that her alleged assault on a Sandton model on Sunday happened when she was on a private visit to South Africa.

The South African police released a statement yesterday indicating that the Zimbabwean government had requested diplomatic immunity for the first lady in light of her and President Mugabe’s participation at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit, which begins today.

Grace faced charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after she allegedly attacked 2o-year-old model Gabriella Engels at a Sandton hotel occupied by her two sons.

Police and government authorities were cagey regarding Grace’s whereabouts after she failed to hand herself over at the Sandton police station yesterday, with government sources telling The Citizen she had returned to Zimbabwe.

A well-placed South African source has now revealed that Grace was being accommodated in Pretoria yesterday at an unknown location, courtesy of the South African government.

The official told The Citizen she would be granted diplomatic immunity and be deemed immune from facing any charges as soon as her husband landed in the country.

Mugabe landed at Waterkloof yesterday afternoon after reportedly changing his travel arrangements to come to the aid of his wife. – simnikiweh@citizen.co.za