NEWS

Gabriella Engels: This Is Not The End

Afriforum will represent Engels as she goes to court over Grace Mugabe's diplomatic immunity.

21/08/2017 06:32 SAST | Updated 21/08/2017 06:32 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Gabriella Engels, who claims to have been assaulted by Grace Mugabe, arrives for a news conference in Pretoria, South Africa, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Gabriella Engels, the 20-year-old woman allegedly assaulted by Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe, says she is not surprised by the news that Mugabe was granted diplomatic immunity by the South African government. But she is not giving up, The Times reported on Monday.

"I am not surprised at all. I knew the government was going to disappoint me. I'm upset. But this is definitely not the end of my case," she reportedly said.

Her mother, Debbie, told The Times: "I was bracing myself for this news and I was half-expecting it. But it doesn't hurt less. It is like a slap in the face after all the injuries."

According to TimesLive, Afriforum is going to court to challenge the diplomatic immunity granted to Mugabe. Afriforum reportedly gave notice on Friday that it intends to take the decision to grant diplomatic immunity on review.

Afriforum's Willie Spies reportedly said: "If the review application is successful (and there are very good grounds to believe that such an application will indeed be successful) the doors will be open for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prosecute Mrs Mugabe."

On Sunday, the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) gave reasons why it had granted Mugabe's request for immunity.

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), the department said its minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had "agonised" over the decision.

The department said among its considerations was the "need to uphold the rule of law, ensure fair administration of justice and uphold the rights of the complainant"; "the fact that the matter coincides with South Africa's hosting of the 37th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government"; and the "derivative immunity of spouses of heads of state".

But its explanation was met with cynicism and doubts that the decision to grant immunity to Mugabe was lawful.