News / South Africa

Gopolang Moloko
2 minute read
30 Jul 2018
11:01 am

UPDATE: Grace Mugabe could stand trial in SA after diplomatic immunity withdrawn

Gopolang Moloko

Things could go south for the former Zim first lady after the high court overturned her diplomatic immunity on Monday.

Zimbabwe’s former first lady Grace Mugabe. Picture: Trong Khiem Nguyen / Flickr

Former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe could be brought back into the country to stand trial for assaulting South African model Gabriella Engels.

The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Monday set aside the decision by the department of international relations to grant former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe’s wife diplomatic immunity.

It was ruled that the granting of immunity was inconsistent with the Constitution.

The high court’s judgment throws a spanner in the works for Mrs Mugabe’s future plans. Due to the ruling, she could be extradited to face trial in South Africa.

The former Zimbabwean first lady was allowed to leave the country without being prosecuted on assault charges last year when she was offered diplomatic immunity.

Mrs Mugabe, who admitted to the assault, claimed she was only acting in self-defence.

Her diplomatic immunity ‘card’ enabled her to jet off and leave South Africa shortly after the assault.

READ MORE: Grace Mugabe accused of beating up Joburg woman with extension cord

The Democratic Alliance and AfriForum spearheaded the motion to have the court nullify the government’s decision to offer her diplomatic immunity, with the organisations stating the decision was unconstitutional.

The assault case against Engels was brought back to court by AfriForum, who remain steadfast in their mission to see the former first lady account for assaulting the model at a Sandton hotel, where her two sons were staying last year.

Engels claimed she was attacked with an electrical cord.

The decision to grant Mrs Mugabe diplomatic immunity resulted in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) being unable to continue investigations on the charges of assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm.

AfriForum launched a court application to have the controversial decision set aside.

The Afrikaner lobby group made it clear that privately prosecuting Grace would ensure she would be brought back to account for the incident.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.