Bid to extradite Grace Mugabe

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace greets supporters at a rally in Lupane about 170 Kilometres north of Bulawayo, Friday, July, 21, 2017. Mugabe's rally is his first since his return from a routine medical review in Singapore. The worlds oldest leader has launched a series of rallies targeting the youth ahead of Presidential elections set for 2018(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Tuesday kept mum about Afriforum’s claims that the NPA has applied for the extradition of Zimbabwe’s former first lady Grace Mugabe.

The purported extradition is in connection with the alleged assault of model Gabriella Engels in Johannesburg in 2017.

The NPA’s spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku responded, “No comment” when asked if this was true.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said he did not know anything about it, and recommended a call-back on Wednesday when he may have some information.

Said Afriforum: “AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit was, on inquiry, informed that the [NPA] has applied to have Grace Mugabe extradited to South Africa. Grace Mugabe [allegedly] assaulted and seriously injured Gabriella Engels, a Johannesburg model, with an extension cord in 2017.”

The case relates to the alleged assault of Engels while in the company of one of Mugabe’s sons Bellarmine Chatunga at a hotel. Engels alleged that Mugabe hit her with an extension cord. Mugabe said it was the other way around, that Engels came at her with a knife. However, Mugabe never answered to the case due to her being granted diplomatic immunity which enabled her to leave South Africa.

Afriforum said the NPA’s decision follows the Gauteng High Court’s ruling last year that the decision by Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, former Dirco minister, to grant Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity, should be set aside.

“Afriforum said that Engels and various other parties brought the rescission application in this regard.”

Advocate Gerrie Nel, formerly a prosecutor with the NPA and now head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, would apply for a nolle prosequi certificate should the NPA fail to prosecute. The certificate means that a private prosecution could be possible.

The group said the Foreign States Immunities Act (1981) 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,” Afriforum stated.