By Staff Reporter/Agencies
SOUTH African rightwing civil rights group, AfriForum has revealed authorities in Zimbabwe’s southern neighbor want former Fist Lady Grace Mugabe handed over to face justice.
While the South African National Prosecuting Authority insist the issue is ‘confidential’ AfriForum said it had been informed that authorities in that country were moving to get Grace.
Former President Robert Mugabe’s wife is set to stand trial for assaulting South African model Gabriella Engels, a Johannesburg hotel in August 2017.
Grace reportedly stormed a room in which Engels was partying with her two sons Robert Jnr and Chatunga Bellermine.
“We hope that the prosecution of Grace Mugabe will commence shortly and we will monitor the case.
“AfriForum gets involved in issues like this to ensure that people with political power do not get away with committing crimes. Grace Mugabe must be brought to book for her deeds, and this is the first step in ensuring that Miss Engels will get justice soon,” the rights group said, Wednesday.
AfriForum and Engels last year won a court bid overturning a decision by the South African government granting Grace diplomatic immunity.
AfriForum head of private prosecutions Gerrie Nel said Grace’s prosecution would start soon, and the lobby group would be monitoring the case.
“The Foreign States Immunities Act (1981) explicitly excludes the granting of immunity to Heads of State who are guilty of the death or injury of people in South Africa. Grace Mugabe, as the wife of a former Head of State, could, therefore, in no way claim the diplomatic immunity to which she appealed,” Nel told South African media.
Nel, who is formerly a prosecutor with the NPA, said he would apply for a nolle prosequi (formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit) certificate should the NPA fail to prosecute.
The certificate would allow AfriForum to pursue private prosecution.
The NPA was unwilling to discuss the matter. Spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku retorted: “No comment.”
On the other hand Ndivhuwo Mabaya, spokesperson of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco), professed ignorance as regards the purported extradition.
The extradition means Grace will have to be sent to South Africa, where she is accused of committing the crime and face trial, but this would depend on whether the Zimbabwe government would agree to that.
Zimbabwe and South Africa do not have a bilateral treaty covering extradition.
Grace at the time of the attack claimed she did so in self-defense after the model charged at her with a knife. South Africa shielded her by claiming she had diplomatic immunity before this was challenged successfully by AfriForum last year.