Johannesburg – A twenty-year-old model claims Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe assaulted her with an extension cord in Sandton on Sunday evening.
Mugabe may face prosecution for the alleged assault in South Africa. Diplomatic immunity can only be granted if the first lady was in the country for official business, Department of International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela told IOL.
The Zimbabwean Mail reported that Mugabe was in the country to have her foot examined following an accident at the Harare international airport.
Gabriella Engels on Monday said she was visiting Mugabe’s two sons Robert and Chatunga at the Capital 20 West Hotel whom she met through a mutual friend on Saturday.
Engels said a bodyguard asked her and a friend to wait in a separate room before Mugabe allegedly started beating her.
"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 over the phone.
Engels said Mugabe accused her of living with her sons.
"She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug. Over and over. I had no idea what was going on. I was surprised… I needed to crawl out of the room before I could run away.
"Her ten bodyguards just stood there watching, no one did anything, no one tried to help me."
Engels said hotel staff escorted her out of the hotel. She immediately tried to open a case of assault at the Sandton police station.
A police officer, however, advised her to seek medical attention first.
"There was blood everywhere. Over my arms, in my hair, everywhere."
She opened a case of assault against the 52-year-old Mugabe on Monday afternoon. Gauteng police were unable to verify whether a case of assault had been opened.
Both Robert and Chatunga have not responded to messages from News24 on Monday afternoon.
Calls to Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba went unanswered.
The Capital Hotel Group wished not to comment on the incident.
Engels said she had not been contacted by either Mugabe or her children following the incident.
She said she is unable to "deal" with the trauma she experienced.
"I am a model, with this scar over my face my whole career is ruined," an emotional Engels told News24.
"I don’t know how to deal with this, but I am trying hard. I am trying so hard to be strong."