NEWS

Robert Mugabe Arrives In SA Without Grace

While the first lady is still covered by diplomatic immunity, sources say she is unofficially not welcome in SA.

03/10/2017 06:50 SAST | Updated 03/10/2017 07:01 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has arrived in South Africa for a meeting with President Jacob Zuma without his wife, Grace Mugabe, Eyewitness News reported on Tuesday.

All eyes were on the Zimbabwean president's arrival as his wife was recently granted diplomatic immunity after allegedly assaulting Gabriella Engels. Lobby group AfriForum is challenging that decision in court.

According to eNCA, Zuma and Mugabe are due to attend the second session of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission. More than a hundred South African companies reportedly do business in Zimbabwe.

Daily Maverick reported that AfriForum's CEO, Kallie Kriel, said Grace Mugabe was still covered by diplomatic immunity.

"And she should enjoy it because it will be the last time, if we succeed," he told the publication.

But even so, Daily Maverick reported that the first lady is not welcome in the country, despite the immunity granted to her.

WATCH: 5 Times Grace Mugabe Got Violent While Abroad

A South African official told the publication that although Pretoria had not declared Grace "persona non grata", Harare "got the message".

The official was reportedly asked if Grace would be accompanying her husband. He said, "certainly not".

Meanwhile, trade issues are likely to be the focus of the meeting between the two presidents, Daily Maverick reported, as Zimbabwe has been putting unilateral trade restrictions on imports from South Africa.

These reportedly violate the SADC free trade agreement. While Zimbabwe has said these are to protect its own industries, observers have reportedly accused Harare of using the import duties as a source of income for the cash-strapped country.