JOHANNESBURG – A claim by a Johannesburg woman that she was assaulted by Zimbabwe’s first lady on Sunday night has prompted people to question whether she would receive diplomatic immunity.
A claim by a Johannesburg woman that she was assaulted by Zimbabwe’s first lady on Sunday night has prompted people to question whether she would receive diplomatic immunity.
Gabriella Engels‚ 20‚ claimed she was assaulted by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s wife‚ Grace‚ at a Sandton hotel on Sunday night.
This prompted Twitter users to question whether the first lady would receive diplomatic immunity and not face any charges. However‚ a criminal lawyer and the department of international relations and cooperation said diplomatic immunity would not apply in this case.
Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said she would not receive diplomatic immunity.
“Firstly‚ for it to apply‚ she needs to be here on official business. It won’t apply if she’s here on holiday or for something else‚” he said.
“Secondly‚ as a First Lady‚ she’s not part of government or a government official. It doesn’t apply just because she’s the wife of a president‚” Monyela said.
Criminal law expert Ulrich Roux also dismissed the idea that diplomatic immunity would apply.
He said a president or their spouse was just another foreign citizen. However‚ some Twitter users weren’t that confident.
@Peter_Mphahlele said: “Im still shocked that ppl thnk the law stil applies 2 evry citizen in the world. Grace Mugabe won’t get a single charge. Diplomatic immunity.”
Twitter user @matphosha said: “Grace is applying Zimbabwean law of strike first ask questions later even when she is in SA. Must be nice to have diplomatic immunity.”