South Africa has issued an arrest warrant for former President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe, over an alleged assault of a model in Johannesburg last year. Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe from 1980 until he was ousted in a coup in November last year.
The South African model named Gabriella Engels accused Mugabe of beating her with an electrical extension cord in a hotel room in Johannesburg’s Sandton district where she was partying with her two sons, Chatunga Bellarmine and Robert (Jr). Mrs. Mugabe refuted Engels claims and said at the time that she had acted in self-defense after the model attacked her in the room.
At the time when the charges against Mrs. Mugabe were laid, the South African government granted her diplomatic immunity allowing her to leave the country without answering questions. The immunity was, however, overturned by a South African court in July this year after the alleged victim challenged the decision.
“I can confirm that a warrant for the arrest of Grace Mugabe was issued last Thursday,” South African Police Service spokesman Vishnu Naidoo said on Wednesday.
He said police were seeking the assistance of Interpol to enforce the warrant.
There was no immediate comment from Mrs. Mugabe or Zimbabwean authorities.
While Zimbabwe has an extradition agreement with South Africa that allows the two countries to exchange persons accused of crimes in either jurisdiction, Zimbabwe’s deputy minister for information, Energy Mutodi, told Reuters that Grace Mugabe won’t be extradited to South Africa as this would be “harassment”.
“I believe the government of Zimbabwe will not tolerate any harassment or degrading treatment on the former President Mugabe and his immediate family members,” Mutodi said.
He added that the final decision will be taken after consultation with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
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