The mother of the victim in Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe’s assault case is upset at the SA government for granting her diplomatic immunity yesterday.
Debbie Engels said yesterday the decision was not in the interest of her daughter.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane gazetted a notice that granted Mugabe immunity from prosecution yesterday, stating she acted in the “interest of the country”.
“In accordance with the powers vested in me by section 7 (2) of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act 2001, and acting in the interest of the Republic of South Africa, I hereby recognise the immunities and privileges of the first lady of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr Grace Mugabe, in terms of international law and as set out in the attached notice,” read a note by Nkoana-Mashabane.
Gabriella Engels, 20, suffered injuries to her forehead and head after she was allegedly attacked by Mugabe in full view of her bodyguards and hotel staff.
“More than half the country is enraged about what happened, our government didn’t act in the interest of citizens on the ground by granting Mrs Mugabe diplomatic immunity,” Debbie said.
She said Gabriella was also very upset at the decision and felt justice was being denied for her. “She’s understandably also very upset. She was attacked by this woman without any provocation, there’s no reason whatsoever why this woman hit my daughter.”
Mugabe faced charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after allegedly attacking Gabriella in a Sandton hotel last Sunday where her two sons Robert Jnr and Bellarmine lived.
A pregnant waitress lost her child when she fell after allegedly being pushed to the floor by Robert Jnr, who was escaping from his mother’s fury during the attack.
Rights group AfriForum said it would launch an urgent interdict on behalf of Gabriella to reverse the decision to grant Mugabe immunity.
AfriForum’ s lawyer Willie Spies said they believed their review application would succeed as it was based on “very good grounds”. Spies said if they win in court, that would open doors for the NPA to prosecute Mugabe .
“If the NPA refuses to prosecute, AfriForum’s private prosecuting unit … is ready to go ahead with private prosecution on behalf of Miss Engels,” AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said in a statement yesterday.