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AfriForum approaches court over Grace Mugabe assault matter

Mugabe is accused of beating Gabriella Engels with an electric cable at a Sandton hotel in August.

FILE: Gabriella Engels claims that she was assaulted by Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe. Picture: Hitekani Magwedze/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - AfriForum will head to court Tuesday to apply to have Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe cited as a respondent in the assault case against her.

Mugabe is accused of beating Gabriella Engel s with an electric cable at a Sandton hotel in August. She, however, claims she was assaulted by Engels.

AfriForum’s Willie Spies explains why they’re approaching a court.

“This is just a formal process to get the courts permission to cite Grace Mugabe, being a foreigner, as a party to court proceedings. We also want the court’s permission to serve the papers on the office of the president in the Republic of Zimbabwe.”

Mugabe returned to Zimbabwe last month after the International Relations Department granted her diplomatic immunity.

AfriForum says that civil or criminal action can be taken against someone in a foreign country if due processes are followed.

It’s argued in court papers that International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane misinterpreted the law when she granted Mugabe diplomatic immunity.

But Nkoana-Mashabane says her decision to grant diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwe’s first lady was difficult but had to be made.

In the letter, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane says that she granted Mugabe immunity after considering all the relevant facts, including the need to uphold the rule of law, ensure fair administration of justice and to uphold the rights of the complainant.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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