AfriForum gets involved in assault case against Grace Mugabe

Assault victim Gabriella Engels with her mother, Debbie, at the AfriForum press briefing.PHOTO: Hitekani Magwedze
Assault victim Gabriella Engels with her mother, Debbie, at the AfriForum press briefing.PHOTO: Hitekani Magwedze

Grace Mugabe’s alleged assault victim was offered a blank cheque to drop the charges against her, according to civil rights organisation AfriForum.

Speaking at a press briefing in Pretoria on Thursday, Advocate Gerrie Nel was unable to state the amount of money offered or by whom. He said the matter was not about money.

“The family is not interested in a settlement, they want justice. If they took the offer they were offered to disclose [any] amount they wanted, but this is not about money. It’s about justice,” he said.

Nel announced that AfriForum would represent and assist Gabriella Engels (20) during Mugabe’s prosecution.

Engels, a model, laid criminal charges against Mugabe on Monday after she allegedly assaulted her in a Sandton Hotel on Sunday.

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said they received word from Police Minister Fikile Mbalula that Mugabe did make efforts to leave the country at different border posts.

Mbalula said that officials at various border posts had been notified to stay alert and keep a lookout for Zimbabwe’s first lady.

Kriel added that they wanted to see the full extent of the law being exercised and that nobody should be above the law.

“We can’t portray victims as perpetrators. [Gabriella is] an innocent young woman and wants to continue with her life. She’s been violated by someone who thinks they’re untouchable. Nobody in this world should be untouchable,” Kriel said.

Responding to a question as to why Mugabe had not been arrested, Nel said that no arrest warrant had been issued because she willingly agreed to appear in court.

AfriForum said that Engels’ family would not incur any costs and had offered her family trauma assistance and protection as “they live in fear”.

Nel said they would give the National Prosecuting Authority three months to prosecute Mugabe before they intervene.

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