Grace Mugabe thrown in jail for allegedly going berserk and beating up her 20-year-old daughter at a Sandton hotel at the weekend.
An incensed Debbie Engels, the mother of Gabriella – who was allegedly assaulted by Zimbabwe’s first lady – told The Star on Monday that her daughter was left shaken by the incident.
“We’re at the police at the moment to open a case. But my daughter is shaken up by what happened,” she said.
Gabriella claimed to have been attacked by Mugabe on Sunday night while the latter was visiting her two sons, Robert jr and Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe, at their upmarket hotel in Sandton.
“She was in pain and couldn’t talk. She was only able to tell me what happened after she was given the medication for shock at the hospital,” Debbie said.
“At the time I didn’t know who attacked her, but like any mother, I was upset about it. Gabriella’s friends told me what happened.”
Debbie said her daughter and two of her friends were sitting in a room adjacent to that of Mugabe’s sons before the attack happened.
“I immediately took her to the police station but they said they wanted a medical form before opening a case,” Debbie said.
Mugabe allegedly used an extension cord to assault Gabriella and her two friends while the two sons and Mugabe’s bodyguards stood idle.
In a series of tweets detailing the incident, Gabriella questioned: “What is a girl compared to a woman beating you and 10+ bodyguards standing back, leaving her to do this s**t.”
“She split my head open in three places with an extension cord and used the plug to hit me.”
A Zimbabwean news outlet reported that Mugabe was in the country for a treatment following a “freak accident” in which she injured her right ankle when she made the impromptu visit to her son’s hotel.
Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, could not be reached for comment after numerous phone calls were made, but Zimbabwe Embassy consul-general Henry Mukonoweshuro said he did not know about the incident.
However, the Twitter account of Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu-PF, confirmed the incident and appeared to paint the 20-year-old young woman as the aggressor.
The party said on Twitter it was the first lady who was the victim of an attempted assault “by a Johannesburg woman”.
“We can confirm that there was a minor altercation between agent provocateurs and comrade Grace Mugabe. No need to panic, she (Mugabe) is fine and safe.”
A picture of Engels with a gash to the head was posted by the party with the caption: “We can confirm this is one of the perpetrators who attacked comrade Grace Mugabe. Be careful, comrades.”
Gabriella later responded to the tweet saying: “Attacked her? With 10+ body guards watching how she was beating me? I did not lift a finger on the first lady.”
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini earlier in the day said they could not comment on the matter as a case had not been opened.
Garnet Basson, the chief operating officer at Capital Hotel Group, where the alleged assault took place, said: “We cannot say what happened in the hotel room because the doors were closed and we can’t reveal the identities of the guests.
“But after management was made aware of the noise, we had the guests removed from the hotel,” Basson said.
In a series of tweets, Zanu-PF accused Engels of being part of a group that sought to attack Mugabe.
Clayson Monyela, the spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, said Mugabe may not receive diplomatic immunity over the incident.
“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 the government or a government official. It doesn’t apply just because she’s the wife of a president” said Monyela.
This incident comes weeks after Robert jr and his young brother, Chatunga Bellarmine, were allegedly involved in a brawl at a Rivonia flat that left a security guard with a broken arm.
The management of the complex kicked them out after the incident.
The Mugabe brothers are said to be studying in Joburg, but have made a name for themselves in Sandton’s nightlife. -IOL