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Grace Mugabe Set to Appear In South African Court Over Assault Charges

FILE: Zimbabwe 1st Lady Grace Mugabe at 16th Zanu-PF Conference in Masvingo.
FILE: Zimbabwe 1st Lady Grace Mugabe at 16th Zanu-PF Conference in Masvingo.

(Reuters) - Zimbabwe's first lady, Grace Mugabe, handed herself in to South African police on Tuesday after reports she had assaulted a woman in Johannesburg's up-market Sandton district over the weekend, eNCA television said.

South African police minister Fikile Mbalula earlier told reporters that he expected to get a report from investigators on Tuesday and that 52-year-old Grace, a possible successor to her husband, Zimbabwe's 93-year-old president Robert Mugabe, could be arrested.

A Zimbabwean intelligence source said Mrs. Mugabe was traveling on a normal passport. "She was here on business," the source told Reuters.

According to the Citizen newspaper, eNCA reporter Nickolaus Bauer asked Mbalula if Mrs. Mugabe had been placed under arrest, and Mbalula responded: “Not under arrest, because she cooperated and handed herself over to the police. That is cooperation, more than any necessity to go and arrest a person.”

She is expected to appear at the Wynberg magistrate's court facing charges of assault.

Mrs. Mugabe, 52, allegedly attacked Gabriella Engels, 20, with an extension cord, wounding her forehead and the back of her head at a Johannesburg Hotel where her two sons Robert Mugabe Junior and Berlamine Chatunga Mugabe have been staying.

The two boys have been allegedly living a lavish lifestyle, which has attracted some girls and teenage boozers.

Indications are that Mrs. Mugabe does not have any diplomatic immunity since she travelled to South Africa