News / South Africa

Virginia Keppler
1 minute read
17 Aug 2017
4:29 pm

Nel to fight for Engels despite being ‘offered money’ to drop charges

Virginia Keppler

Grace Mugabe's alleged victim has received the support of civil rights group AfriForum in her quest for justice.

Gabriella Engels with her mother, Debbie Engels at a media briefing on Thursday, August 17, 2017. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Advocate Gerrie Nel, of civil rights watchdog AfriForum, has announced the organisation’s support for Gabriella Engels, who was allegedly assaulted by Grace Mugabe, the wife of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

The support entails, among other things, that Nel will monitor the handling of the case by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), as well as the implementation of private prosecution, should the NPA fail to prosecute Mugabe without good cause.

AfriForum said, should diplomatic immunity be granted to Mugabe, AfriForum would be prepared to fight that in the highest court.

AfriForum’s Trauma Unit will also provide Engels with support to help process the trauma of the assault.

Engels was sitting next to her mother, Debbie Engels, during the conference, with a white plaster on her head.

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said it was an honour for his organisation to support Engels because she was prepared to take a stand for justice despite enormous pressure.

The communication with the family is not what one would expect, as they have not been kept abreast of developments. They have allegedly been approached by a third party to accept an amount of money to settle the matter.

Nel said everybody was equal before the law, and if the police and the NPA did their duty, they would be very happy.

“If nothing happened, we will certainly consider prosecuting this matter. There should not be selective prosecution,” Nel said.

Willie Spies, AfriForum’s legal representative, expressed his concern that there was a possibility of political interference.