HARARE, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe, returned to her homeland on Tuesday from South Africa after failing to turn herself in to South African police to face charges of assaulting a woman in Johannesburg.
“Yes, she is back in the country. We don’t know where this issue of assault charges is coming from,” said a senior Zimbabwean government official, who declined to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Meanwhile the National Freedom Party (NFP) on Tuesday called on South African authorities to ban Grace Mugabe, the wife of Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, from visiting the country after reports surfaced that she assaulted a young model found in her sons’ Sandton hotel room.
“We call on the South African government led by President Jacob Zuma to officially ban Grace Mugabe’s permit to visit South Africa as a sign that our government is dealing with the issue of women abuse very seriously. We believe Grace Mugabe is a serious threat to South African citizens, the recent incident has clear reference,” said Sabelo Sigudu, the NFP spokesperson.
Mugabe’s two sons, Robert Jnr and Chatunga, have been living in a hotel since they were evicted last month from their R74 000-a-month luxury apartment over a brawl that left a security guard at the complex injured.
On Sunday the 20-year-old model, identified as Gabriella Engels, said she was whipped with an electric extension cord by Mugabe, who was in the company of bodyguards. She sustained head injures that required stitches.
The NFP said it had noted with “serious disappointment the alleged savagely cruel act of Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe”.
The party said Zimbabwe’s 52-year-old first lady’s behaviour undermined the rule of law in South Africa and rights of citizens in general. The matter has been reported to the police in Morningside.
Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that Grace Mugabe had handed herself over to police and was due to appear in a Johannesburg court later on Tuesday.
“We refuse to seat back and and watch women being abused and undermined, especially during the month were we commemorate their role and achievements in the past struggle.”
Grace Mugabe has in the past landed in trouble for assaulting reporters in Singapore when they tried to take photographs of her husband at a hospital in that country, where he regularly seeks medical attention.