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Could Diplomatic Immunity Save Robert Mugabe's Wife From Prosecution?
September 21 2017, 02:19 | Irvin Gilbert
Grace Mugabe seeks immunity in S Africa assault case
The First Lady of Zimbabwe handed herself in to South African police on Tuesday and is expected to be charged with assault after reports emerged that she attacked a young woman in Johannesburg, the police chief said.
"Ms. Mugabe should have applied for diplomatic immunity before she came to our country, not after she finds herself facing criminal charges", said Zakhele Mbhele, a member of parliament for the Democratic Alliance.
Mrs Mugabe was scheduled to attend the South African Development Community summit in Pretoria, an appointment that could boost her claim to diplomatic immunity after the visit to her sons was described as private.
"Firstly‚ for it to apply‚ she needs to be here on official business".
"Secondly‚ as a First Lady‚ she's not part of government or a government official".
The model said: "When Grace entered, I had no idea who she was".
A department spokesman declined to comment on the status of Mugabe's immunity bid on Thursday, but on Wednesday said the matter was under consideration.
Police have put out a "red alert" to prevent any attempt by Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe to leave the country.
The South African model said she had no clue who her attacker was until the alleged assault was over.
While Grace Mugabe has in the past denied harbouring ambitions to take over from her husband, at other times she has said she would be prepared to serve in any political position.
"She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug".
Engels said her daughter had received 14 stitches on her head from Sunday's assault - which the mother did not witness - and demanded Mugabe face justice.
"I want to go to court because I really feel like she should go to jail for what she did to me", she said.
"Grace Mugabe, 43, is accused of repeatedly punching Richard Jones, chief photographer of the Hong Kong agency Sinopix, after he took pictures of her shopping in Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui".
It said in a statement: "Discussions with the suspect's lawyers and the Zimbabwean High Commission representatives are taking place to make sure that the suspect is processed through the legal system".