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Mugabe Officially Visiting South Africa Without 'Controversial' Wife

  • Gibbs Dube

FILE: President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace attend the burial of two independence luminaries, Maud Muzenda and George Rutanhire, in Harare, Zimbabwe August 26,2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

President Robert Mugabe returned to South Africa on Tuesday, without his wife, Grace, who caused a diplomatic uproar when she allegedly attacked and injured a local model, Gabriella Engels.

Indications are that his wife remained home, fearing that she may be served with summons compelling her to appear in court to face charges of common assault.

The South African government granted Mrs. Mugabe diplomatic immunity though Zuma refused recently in parliament to release details of the move.

Mrs. Mugabe allegedly attacked Engels when she found her socializing with her children – Robert Mugabe Junior and Chatunga - who were living at an upmarket hotel.

The Zimbabwean first lady claims that she was attacked by Engels, who has dismissed these remarks as “senseless”.

A non-governmental organization, Afriforum, has filed papers in court seeking permission to sue Mrs. Mugabe, for allegedly assaulting the 20 year-old model.

Her attorney, Willies Spies, told VOA Studio 7 recently that they expect to be granted permission by the South African courts to serve Mrs. Mugabe’s papers on President Mugabe in Harare.

Spies said serving the papers on President Mugabe would ensure that “Mrs. Mugabe also gets notice of the application.”

He noted that they also want South Africa’s International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane to set aside the diplomatic immunity granted to Mrs. Mugabe.

Afriforum claims that the diplomatic immunity was granted unlawfully.

Meanwhile, Presidents Jacob Zuma and Mr. Mugabe are currently holding discussions over the two nations' progress on bilateral treaties signed in 2016.

Mr. Mugabe, who is on an official visit to South Africa, is among top Zimbabwean officials attending the 2nd Session of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria.

The BNC session, co-chaired by Zuma and Mugabe, is expected to afford the two leaders an opportunity to review the state of the bilateral relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The BNC will further provide a platform to determine the actual progress made on bilateral undertakings and commitments agreed in the inauguration Session of the BNC in October 2016.

Zuma and Mugabe are also expected to exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual concern, particularly peace, security, stability and development in the Southern African Development Community region and some parts of the continent.

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