Grace Mugabe skips court, returns to Zimbabwe

First lady Grace Mugabe alongside her husband, Robert, during a rally in Zimbabwe. Picture: Themba Maseko
First lady Grace Mugabe alongside her husband, Robert, during a rally in Zimbabwe. Picture: Themba Maseko

While South Africans are still questioning Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe’s whereabouts, rumour has it that she is back in her homeland in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Mugabe (52) who is married to President Robert Mugabe, was expected to hand herself over to police after she allegedly assaulted a 20-year-old model, Gabriella Engels, with an extension cord in Sandton on Saturday. Engels has since opened a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm at the Sandton police station.

It seems there was confusion in Mugabe’s assault case.

First it was announced that she would appear at the Alexandra Magistrates’ Court in Wynberg, Sandton. City Press was then told that she would appear at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court.

However, hours later Mugabe had still not made an appearance.

It seems that police working close to the case were also clueless on Mugabe’s whereabouts.

Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said “Preliminary investigations included negotiation with the suspect to hand herself in, but she had not.”

Engels said she was visiting Mugabe’s two sons, Robert and Chatunga, at the Capital 20 West Hotel. She had met them through a mutual friend on Saturday.

“When Grace entered I had no idea who she was. She walked in with an extension cord and just started beating me with it,” Engels told News24.

“I am a model, with this scar over my face my whole career is ruined.

“I don’t know how to deal with this, but I am trying hard. I am trying so hard to be strong,” she said.

Engels, who sustained injuries on the front of her forehead, the back of her scalp and more bruises on her body, said she wanted justice to be served.

When City Press called her, she said she had had a long draining day and asked for privacy. “I just want to get some rest for a while,” she said.

Mugabe was in the country for medical treatment after she injured her foot.

She was apparently not in the country as Zimbabwe’s First Lady, which means she did not have immunity from prosecution and the chances of her getting diplomatic immunity are very slim.

Diplomatic protection only applies to people conducting official state business.

She had returned to Zimbabwe, a senior government official told Reuters.

“Yes, she is back in the country. We don't know where this issue of assault charges is coming from,“ the official said.

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