Grace Mugabe's diplomatic immunity ruling set aside

by Abel Hampton July 31, 2018, 3:35
Grace Mugabe's diplomatic immunity ruling set aside

They asked the court to nullify government's decision to grant Mugabe diplomatic immunity after she assaulted model Gabriella Engels at a hotel in August previous year.

The former Zimbabwean first lady allegedly assaulted Gabriella Engels at a hotel in August a year ago but was allowed to leave the country without being prosecuted.

But the state granted Grace immunity‚ saying it was imperative to maintain good intergovernmental relations within the SADC region‚ and in particular‚ between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Photographs taken by Engels' mother soon after the incident showed gashes to the model's head and bruising on her thighs.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said the ruling was a "great day for justice", and an arrest warrant should be issued for Mrs Mugabe.

Vally said that even if Grace Mugabe at the time had "derivative immunity" by being the spouse of Zimbabwe's former president, she would not have been covered as the primary immunity did not exist. It is the first time the African nation will hold an election without Mugabe's name on the ballot.

It was ruled that the granting of immunity was inconsistent with the Constitution.

In papers filed in the High Court, Ms Engels said Ms Nkoana-Mashabane had "misconstrued her powers".

She also argued that not awarding Mrs Mugabe diplomatic immunity might have serious implications for relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Spies said if the NPA failed to take action, Afriforum would start proceedings against Mrs Mugabe.

"The South African government chose to put the politics of expediency above the rule of law", DA chairman James Selfe said.

On that basis, Vally declared Nkoana-Mashabane's decision to be inconsistent with the Constitution and ordered that it be reviewed and set aside.

The DA believes that Mugabe was granted immunity simply to shield her from being tried in a court of law for her assault on Engels and two others on 13 August 2017.

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