Lobby group AfriForum says it will opt for private prosecution should the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) fail to prosecute Zimbabwe’s former first lady Grace Mugabe.
This comes after the high court in Johannesburg ruled that the 2017 decision by then Minister of International Relations, Maite Nkoana Mashabe to grant diplomatic immunity to Mugabe, was unconstitutional. Mugabe was accused of assaulting a model, Gabrielle Engels, and two others at a Johannesburg hotel in August last year. AfriForum’s CEO Kalli Kriel says they will be monitoring the situation.
“We will monitor the fact that the police will now have to take this matter further. Then the NPA will need to prosecute. But in the end, if the NPA decides not to prosecute because of Mrs Mugabe’s surname and her political ties, then we are ready to go for a private persecution on behalf of Ms. Engels,” says Kreil.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) and AfriForum asked the court to set aside government’s decision, on grounds that it was illegal and unconstitutional.
The DA believes that Mugabe was granted immunity simply to shield her from being tried in a court of law for her assault on Engels and two others on 13 August 2017.
It says condoning such behaviour, as the granting of immunity did, cannot possibly be in the interest of South Africa.