AfriForum: Dirco not in a position to grant Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity

But AfriForum’s Willie Spies says the law doesn’t afford heads of state from neighbouring countries cover for these types of crimes.

FILE: Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Lobby group AfriForum says it will oppose the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) if it grants Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity following assault allegations against her.

Gabriella Engels is accusing the first lady of attacking her at a Sandton hotel on Sunday.

LISTEN: ‘I was attacked, assaulted by Grace Mugabe’

The Zimbabwean government has since requested diplomatic cover for Mugabe in a bid to keep her out of court.

But AfriForum’s Willie Spies says the law doesn’t afford heads of state from neighbouring countries cover for these types of crimes.

“Given the legislation we have and international conventions applicable, we are of the opinion there is a clear-cut case to be made and the department is not in the position to grant diplomatic immunity.”

AfriForum says it will give the State three months to prosecute before it intervenes.

Debbie Engels, Gabriella's mother, says she's grateful for the legal team at AfriForum, which includes advocate Gerrie Nel.

AfriForum says they expect the trial to begin in the next three months.

Debbie says she's glad they're not alone.

"At least now I can sleep a little bit more peaceful knowing that I have people in my corner that are going to help me fight for justice for my daughter. I know these people are not going to back down. They’re going to fight for her all the way. I’m very, very grateful. Now I know that this woman is not going to get off scot-free."

WATCH: AfriForum outlines plan to support Grace Mugabe's alleged assault victim

AfriForum has also refuted speculation that Gabriella and Mugabe's sons were using drugs on the day she was beaten.

AfriForum’s Kallie Kriel says it was the first time that Engels had met the Mugabe sons.

“Through my discussions she had just met them. This is the kind of thing I think we should fight. It falls in the same category as when people say a woman was raped because of the clothes she wore.”

Kriel says the Mugabe family has offered Gabriella a blank cheque to make the case disappear.

Advocate Gerrie Nel, nicknamed the Bulldog, has vowed to ensure that the first lady is prosecuted.

“We’ll do what is needed to ensure that justice is done.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)