'Courts should be allowed to decide on Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity matter'

Zimbabwe’s first lady was given diplomatic immunity by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane after allegedly assaulting a young woman in her sons’ hotel room.

FILE: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Ramaphosa says the courts will decide whether or not the government did the right thing in granting Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity.

Zimbabwe’s first lady was given diplomatic immunity by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane after allegedly assaulting a young woman in her sons’ hotel room.

Ramaphosa says Parliament’s international relations committee is seized with the matter, while the decision’s also being taken to court by Afriforum.

“Through the exercise of the powers that our judiciary has, they will be able to deliver a solution, an end or a judgment in this regard and we will then be able to know what should have happened.”

Ramaphosa wants the Mugabe matter left there. But the Inkatha Freedom Party’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa suggested he “get real”.

“We cannot possibly have a situation where a South African is left helpless because there is power on the other side, of Mrs Mugabe. So I’d like to hear your views. Do you think it is correct?”

Ramaphosa did not answer the question directly, insisting that the African National Congress was founded on its respect for human rights and that the courts should be allowed to decide the matter.


Ramaphosa has affirmed lawmakers’ powers to sanction Cabinet ministers who fail to account to Parliament.

He was responding to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)' question about what he’s doing about Minister Faith Muthambi who snubbed a meeting of the Public Service and Administration Oversight Committee last month.

Members of Parliament wanted to question her about media reports that she blew nearly R500,000 on flying 30 friends and family to Cape Town to attend her budget vote speech in May.

In response to Muthambi’s no-show on 15 August, the committee agreed to issue a summons to compel her to appear before it.

But EFF MP Veronica Mente claims that decision was suddenly overturned.

“You are saying the committees have powers. Let me tell you something, that committee sanctioned Minister Muthambi, guess what? It was withdrawn.”

Ramaphosa has promised to follow up.

“The matter of Minister Muthambi, as I understand it, is being dealt with at a committee level. I will follow it up.”

Agang-SA’s Andries Tlouamma asked if he would recommend that Muthambi be fired.

“I am just the deputy president and the president is the one who appoints ... who does all that.”

Answering a similar question last week, President Jacob told MPs he had no plans to get rid of Muthambi.

WATCH: Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in Parliament