Grace Mugabe's alleged assault victim won't drop charges

Gabriella Engels says she's aware of Grace Mugabe's history of alleged abuse and wants her to face a court of law.

Gabriella Engels, the woman who was assaulted by Grace Mugabe. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG – The woman who opened an assault case against Grace Mugabe says she wants justice not only for her but for others who also claim to have been victims of the Zimbabwean first lady in the past.

Gabriella Engels says that no level of intimidation will make her drop the assault case against Mugabe.

Engels and two other friends were allegedly assaulted at a Sandton hotel on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Engels says she's aware of Grace Mugabe's history of alleged abuse and wants her to face a court of law.

In 2009, a photographer claimed he was punched repeatedly by Mugabe in Hong Kong.

Engels says this can't be allowed.

"I just hope that the fact that I’m being strong enough to speak against her and that means I can be the voice for other people who she assaulted."

Engels says although she has not received any calls personally intimidating her to drop the charges, she fears leaving her house.

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Meanwhile, Zimbabwean social movement Tajamuka says it is appalled by the assault allegations leveled against its first lady Grace Mugabe.

The movement claims that Mugabe habitually assaults members of the public in Zimbabwe and faces no repercussions.

Radical pressure group Tajamuka’s Diana Nyokadzino says they expect the South African judicial system to ensure that Gabriella Engels is vindicated.

Nyokadzino says Mugabe’s social standing in Zimbabwe should not be a reason for her to be treated differently.

“Because she’s the first lady, it doesn’t mean that she’s supposed to get away with just about everything. Assault on people, assault on young people, assault on Zimbabweans, so she has to get arrested.

“Maybe this time around, she’s done it in South Africa to a foreign person, maybe she will get arrested because we have failed to do that in our own country.”

While speculation around Mugabe having left the country became prominent on Tuesday, the police maintained that they were negotiating for her to hand herself over.