Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Former Pistorius prosecutor could take up private case against Grace Mugabe

Former Pistorius prosecutor could take up private case against Grace Mugabe

Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe.

She is in the middle of an assault case involving a 20-year-old model, Gabriella Engels.

Even so, border posts are on "red alert" to prevent Mugabe from fleeing the country and police insist she won't receive any special treatment. He said the claims for diplomatic immunity would only apply "if South Africa accepts that they will apply".

Ms Engels lodged a complaint with the police on Monday, following which Ms Mugabe was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday afternoon.

The reports further allege that the reason the boys were moved to South Africa from Dubai was also due to their penchant for expensive drugs.

The country has a hard relationship with its northern neighbour.

The model who accuses Zimbabwe's first lady of assault has been offered help by a prominent lawyer who secured the murder conviction of Oscar Pistorius.

Police confirmed on Wednesday that the Zimbabwean government indicated it wanted to invoke diplomatic immunity.

Reporting Robert Mugabe's visit to South Africa, Zimbabwe's Herald newspaper, the government's main mouthpiece, made no mention of the controversy swirling around his wife, which puts Pretoria in a diplomatic bind.

But the source said that if Mrs Mugabe was prosecuted, other countries in southern Africa, that supported South Africa's ruling ANC party in the long struggle against apartheid, would see it as a betrayal.

"There would obviously be implications for our relations with Zimbabwe".

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Grace has asked for diplomatic immunity to avoid being arrested.

When he began his new job under the helm of the civil society group AfriForum in February - heading a private prosecutions team meant to bring justice to South Africa's political and economic untouchables - Nel said he firmly believes in the South African justice system and this is a way of assisting the National Prosecuting Authority.

'Gerrie Nel and the team have contingency plans, ' she told Reuters, without elaborating.

AfriForum has said it would also consider a private prosecution.

"The government has two responsibilities: one, to protect its own citizens and two, to act according to the law".

Grace Mugabe came to South Africa for medical treatment for an injured foot, nearly certainly invalidating her claims to diplomatic immunity, legal experts said.

On Friday morning, police had received no official word from the government on the status of the immunity request, police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo told The Associated Press.

Grace Mugabe managed to evade arrest and prosecution in Hong Kong after a similar incident in 2009 when she was granted immunity.

She said the first lady's bodyguards had stood by watching.

Cape Town - The African Union Commission's former chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has reportedly said that women are capable leaders, adding that "the bahaviour of one woman should not be allowed to taint all women".

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