The application came in the wake of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit’s continued pressure on the government to charge Mugabe for assaulted after she allegedly caused serious injuries to Gabriella Engels, a Johannesburg model. The assault is said to have taken place with an extension cord in 2017.
The NPA’s decision follows the South Gauteng High Court’s ruling last year that the decision by Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, former Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, to grant Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity should be set aside. AfriForum, Gabriella Engels and various other parties brought the rescission application in this regard. Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, has further made it clear that his office would apply for a nolle prosequi certificate should the NPA fail to prosecute.
The Foreign States Immunities Act (1981) explicitly excludes the granting of immunity to heads of state who are guilty of the death or injury of people in South Africa. Grace Mugabe, as the wife of a former head of state, could therefore in no way claim the diplomatic immunity to which she appealed.
“We hope that the prosecution of Grace Mugabe will commence shortly and we will monitor the case. AfriForum gets involved in issues like this to ensure that people with political power do not get away with committing crimes. Grace Mugabe must be brought to book for her deeds and this is the first step in ensuring that miss Engels will get justice soon,” says Nel.