Harare, Zimbabwe (News of the South)-Lawyers for the Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa, which claimed it represents first lady Grace Mugabein the Pretoria High Court, unexpectedly withdrew from the case on Friday after a ruling gave it seven days to prove they were acting on her behalf.

 

Advocate Simba Chitando said the embassy withdrew because it received threats since it intervened in the Mugabe case.

 

Mrs Mugabe is accused of assaulting Gabrille Engelsa 20-year-old Johannesburg woman, but was subsequently granted diplomatic immunity which meant she could avoid police questioning.

 

Ms Engels’ lawyers, known as Afriforum, went to court demanding the immunity be withdrawn so that Mrs Mugabe could face civil and criminal charges in South Africa.

 

When the matter went to to court last month Mr Chitando argued on behalf of Mrs Mugabe via a brief from the Zimbabwean Embassy.

Gabriella Engels is seen with an injury to her forehead in Johannesburg
Gabriella Engels is seen with an injury to her forehead in Johannesburg Credit: Debbie Engels via AP

The Pretoria High Court ruled on Friday that the Embassy had seven days to prove it did represent Mrs Mugabe in this case.

 

“This was quite a wise ruling, but it was surprising that once it came through, the lawyers announced the embassy is withdrawing from the case. So our original application is back on track.” said Afrforum’s lawyer, Willie Spies.

 

“We want to reverse the diplomatic immunity given to Grace Mugabe when she was in South Africa on private business so criminal and civil action against her can proceed.”

Ms Engels met Mrs Mugabe’s two sons, Robert Jnr 25 and Chatunga Bellarmine, 21, at an upmarket Johannesburg night club where she worked.

 

Ms Engels said she was invited to meet them after work at a luxury flat they rented and claimed Mrs Mugabe arrived and attacked her and two of her friends with an extension chord, leaving her with a wound on her forehead which  was stitched up at a Johannesburg hospital.

 

Ms Engels laid charges against Mrs Mugabe but she was saved from answering police questions by the immunity which Mr Spies says was granted illegally.

 

Mrs Mugabe issued a statement claiming Ms Engels attacked her with a knife and she acted in self-defense.

Mrs Mugabe recently bought a mansion in Johannesburg and a Rolls Royce.-Telegraph


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