South African police say Zimbabwean authorities and lawyers representing First Lady Grace Mugabe are engaged in discussions with police over allegations that she assaulted a young woman in an upmarket Sandton hotel found socializing with her sons.
In a statement, the Ministry of Police said these discussions are “to make sure that the suspect is processed through the legal system.”
The ministry noted that “the suspect’s lawyers and her government representatives made verbal representations to SAPS (South African Police Services) investigators that the suspect wished to invoke diplomatic immunity cover and thus she elected to change her mind” about giving a warned statement to the police.
“… The Government of Zimbabwe has dispatched a diplomatic note verbale to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation invoking diplomatic immunity cover.”
The ministry further said, “The suspect remains in South Africa and has not departed the republic, we are advised her itinerary includes amongst private matters, her attendance and participation at the scheduled SADC Heads of Sates/Governments Summit and Bi-lateral Diplomatic Meetings already underway in Pretoria.”
In the statement, the ministry said Mrs. Mugabe initially made arrangements acceptable to SAPS that she would present herself to the police in Sandton on Tuesday morning.
“The time scheduled was changed several times. By end of business yesterday (Tuesday) she had failed to present herself as arranged. Her attorneys and government of Zimbabwe representatives did arrive at the police station in Sandton for channels of communication.”
The Ministry of Police said the purpose of the “arrangement was to obtain a warning statement, obtain the suspect’s version (of the assault case) if any and present the docket to NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) for a decision whether to prosecute or not).
Mrs. Mugabe allegedly assaulted Gabriella Engels said to have been found with her children – Chatunga and Robert Junior – at a hotel in South Africa.
Engels claims that the Zimbabwean first lady’s bodyguards stood by when she was attacked by Mrs. Mugabe.
The model told independent media in South Africa that she fears being victimized for telling it all, noting that she now spends most of her time at home.