Arrest warrant issued for Grace Mugabe after alleged assault

Arrest warrant issued for Grace Mugabe after alleged assault

December 19, 2018

South African police said the warrant for the wife of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe had been granted on 13 December.

Mrs Mugabe, 53, reportedly attacked Gabriella Engels using an electrical extension cord at a luxury hotel in August last year.

The South African model claimed she was attacked by Mrs Mugabe while she was visiting the first lady’s sons, Chatunga and Robert Junior, in a Johannesburg hotel room.

Ms Engels, who was 20 at the time, said Mrs Mugabe’s bodyguards stood and watched as the first lady hit her with an extension cord.

“The police investigated and we made an application to the courts, and the courts granted a warrant for the arrest,” police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo said.

The Randburg Magistrates Court in Gauteng province issued the warrant, charging Mrs Mugabe with “assault causing grievous bodily harm”.

“We are following the Interpol (International Criminal Police) processes, so we are applying for assistance to secure her arrest,” Mr Naidoo added.

Ms Engels, now 21, suffered cuts to her forehead and the back of her head.

At the time, the government granted Mrs Mugabe diplomatic immunity, allowing her to leave South Africa, but that decision was overturned by the courts in July, labelling the decision by the foreign ministry as “inconsistent with the constitution”.

Lobby group AfriForum, which has been pursuing the case on Ms Engels’ behalf, welcomed the arrest warrant.

“AfriForum first had to approach the court to have Mugabe’s diplomatic immunity set aside, which paved the way for the police to investigate and it has now reached a point where an arrest can be made,” AfriForum director Kallie Kriel said.

At the time, Mrs Mugabe painted herself as the victim of the incident and accused Ms Engels of being “intoxicated and unhinged” and attacking her with a knife.

Former president Mr Mugabe, 94, was ousted in November 2017 after a brief military takeover when generals stepped in to ensure that his wife was not in line to succeed him.

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