[UPDATE] Zim embassy withdraws from Grace Mugabe case

Mugabe has denied claims that she attacked Engels with an extension cable in a Sandton hotel room in August.

FILE: Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe.  Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA – The Zimbabwean embassy has withdrawn from AfriForum’s case involving First Lady Grace Mugabe, revealing that its received threats without divulging from who.

The High Court in Pretoria was expected to rule on an application to cite Mugabe as a respondent in a review of her diplomatic immunity but the judge instead referred the matter to another court.

Mugabe is accused of assaulting South African model Gabriella Engels in August government granted her immunity from prosecution before she could appear in court.

Mugabe has denied claims that she attacked Engels with an extension cable in a Sandton hotel room in August.

Shortly after the judge ruled that the matter be enrolled in the opposed court, the Zimbabwean Embassy’s advocate Simba Chitando asked to address the court.

AfriForum has accused the embassy of using delay tactics in order to frustrate the legal process.

This latest development means they will have to approach the court again on an unopposed basis.

AfriForum has also brought an application to the North Gauteng High Court against International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane for allowing the first lady to leave the country without being prosecuted.

AfriForum’s Willie Spies said: “Either way the matter will be heard and we are meeting the Deputy Judge President this coming week to determine preferential dates to have the review application heard. It will either be with Grace Mugabe as a party or without.”

In terms of the law, because Mugabe is a foreigner, the applicant must ask the High Court to add her as a respondent.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)