A year after Grace Mugabe allegedly assaulted a South African model, Gabriella Engels, South African authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the former Zimbabwean first lady, .
On 16 August, 2017 Mugabe allegedly assaulted 20-year-old Engels who was visiting Mugabe’s two sons, 25-year-old Robert Jnr and 21-year-old Chatunga, in South Africa. Despite calls for her arrest, the South African government under Jacob Zuma granted her diplomatic immunity.
Early in the year, a South African group representing a model, AfriForum and Etienne Labuschange Sc laid criminal charges against Mugabe, but could not proceed because the immunity was still in place. Fortunately, a South African Judge, Bashir Valley, demanded explanations as to why Mugabe’s immunity had not lapsed given that she was no longer the first lady.
By July 2018, the court ruled that the decision to grant diplomatic immunity to Grace Mugabe was illegal, giving room for her arrest and a possible extradition. The arrest was issued on 13 December and has already been confirmed by a South African Police Services spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.
“I can confirm that a warrant for the arrest of Grace Mugabe was issued last Thursday, and the police are seeking Interpol’s help to enforce it,” Naidoo told CNN.
Mugabe allegedly attacked Engels with an extension cord after finding her in a hotel with her sons. The attack left a scar on the model’s head, one big enough to cause permanent damage to the South African’s modelling career. “She split my head open in 3 places with an extension cord and used the plug to hit me,” Engels wrote on her twitter page.
The umbrella of the first lady no longer covers Mugabe, who has been previously accused of assault prior to her encounter with Engels. In 2009, Mugabe faced a possible wounding charge after being accused of repeatedly punching British photographer, Richard Jones who tried to photograph her while outside an upmarket Hong Kong department store.
Jones sustained several facial injuries from Mugabe’s diamond ring which served as a weapon while Mugabe was lashing out her punches. Despite the physical bruises, Hong Kong’s Department of Justice granted her immunity. “Grace Mugabe is not liable to arrest or detention and enjoys immunity from criminal prosecution,” Hong Kong’s justice department stated.