South African Court Revokes Grace Mugabe’s Immunity For Assaulting Model

Former Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe can no longer use diplomatic immunity as protection from possible prosecution for assault, following a High Court judgment which set aside immunity granted to her previous year.

Grace was granted diplomatic immunity by South Africa's former Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Maite Nkoana-Mashabane following her alleged assault of South African model Gabriella Engels in Johannesburg previous year.

NPA spokeswoman Phindi Mjnonondwana said the case was still in the hands of the police and had not yet been sent to the NPA for action.

However, The DA and AfriForum approached the courts to set the decision aside.

Grace managed to skip out of the country after authorities refused to press charges against her citing diplomatic status as a spouse to former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

Acting Judge Bashier Vally said the error was "fundamental and fatal" and that the decision by the former minister of worldwide relations and cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane must be reviewed and set aside.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said the department was still studying the judgment and would comment later if necessary.

Naidoo added that the Grace Mugabe docket would now follow due processes. He says Judge Bashier Vally read the order which sided with the DA and AfriForum.

The act makes it clear that foreign states' immunity did not extend to proceedings in SA relating to the death or injury of a person.

Vally said the decision is inconsistent with provisions in the constitution.

He further found that Mugabe was not immune to the jurisdiction of the South African courts and the minister's decision to "recognise" or "confer" immunity upon her was unconstitutional and unlawful.

Selfe, reacting to the judgment, said it was a great day for the rule of law "and shows that nobody is above in the law".

Selfe said an arrest warrant should be issued for Mugabe and called on the South African government to work with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that Mugabe returns to the country and has her day in court.

- Barry Bateman, EWN reporterShe should have been arrested and brought before the court and it would've been argued in court whether she should be granted immunity. "We hope that the NPA will do their job and go ahead with prosecution".

  • Rogelio Becker