JUST IN: SA court overturns immunity for Grace Mugabe in assault case

JUST IN: SA court overturns immunity for Grace Mugabe in assault case

The South African High Court has ruled that the decision to grant Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity was inconsistent with the country's constitution.

The decision to grant her diplomatic immunity was taken by former minister of worldwide relations and cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane after Mugabe allegedly assaulted Gabriella Engels in a luxury hotel in Sandton in August past year.

Mugabe was accused of assaulting a model, Gabrielle Engels, and two others at a Johannesburg hotel in August previous year.

Model Gabriella Engels, the woman behind the assault allegation, last August filed a court application challenging the government's decision.

"We said all along that Grace Mugabe was not entitled to diplomatic immunity and the South African government chose to use expediency as a principle". The minister was slapped with the costs of the suit.

The decision was "inconsistent with the constitution", the court ruled.

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The news from the South African court came as former president Mugabe (94), accompanied by his wife and daughter Mrs Bona Chikore, cast his vote at Mhofu Primary School in Highfield township, the first election that does not include his name on the ballot paper since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980. Ms Engels needed 14 stitches to her head after allegedly being set upon by Mrs Mugabe who was wielding an electrical extension...

The model said she was waiting for Mrs Mugabe's son, Chatunga, when the-then first lady burst into the hotel room and assaulted her, leaving her with a gash on her forehead and other injuries on her thighs.

AfriForum's Willie Spies says the road has been cleared for the National Prosecuting Authority to prosecute Mugabe.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the decision was to maintain good relations with Zimbabwe.

Read: Are diplomats and politicians above the law?

- 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.

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