Gabrielle with her legal representatives
Gabrielle with her legal representatives

Mrs Mugabe's immunity wont stop the fight, lawyers of assault victim warn

Legal representatives of the 20-year-old South African model who accused Zimbabwe’s first lady of assault say the latter’s diplomatic immunity will not stop their fight for justice.


Grace Mugabe was granted diplomatic immunity by South Africa before she left the country on Sunday amid demands that she faces prosecution.

Civil rights watchdog AfriForum, which is assisting the model Gabriella Engels, said it will continue to seek justice for the young lady who said she was hit with an extension cord by Mrs Mugabe in a hotel room in Johannesburg.

“Mrs Mugabe’s departure to Zimbabwe and the granting of diplomatic immunity by the South African government to her is however not the end of the matter‚” AfriForum’s legal representative, Willie Spies said on Sunday.

He said they are appealing the decision granting Grace Mugabe the diplomatic immunity and if that is not successful, they will pursue private prosecution.

“The fight for justice for Zimbabwe and for Miss Engels will therefore go ahead until it is won‚” Spies was quoted by local news portal Sunday Times.

Gabriella Engels, who suffered deep cuts on her forehead, said she was beat up with two of her friends in the hotel room for being in the company of one of Mugabe’s sons who ran out of the room.

Her mother, Debbie Engels, said they turned down a compensation offered by Grace Mugabe’s aides.

There has been no official communication from the Zimbabwean authorities on the matter.

South Africa’s main opposition party the Democratic Alliance said it would demand an immediate parliamentary inquiry into the government’s decision to allow Grace Mugabe to leave the country.

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