Gabriella Engels and AfriForum bring court application against Mugabe and minister

AfriForum today filed a review application at the North Gauteng High Court asking the court to set aside a decision by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, to grant diplomatic immunity to the Zimbabwean president’s wife, Mrs Grace Mugabe.

According to the statement by Ms Gabriella Engels, who was assaulted by Mrs Mugabe in a hotel room in Johannesburg, the minister misinterpreted Section 7(2) of the Diplomatic Immunity and Privileges Act and she did not have the power to grant immunity to Mrs Mugabe. She also failed to take into account that the alleged crime committed by Mrs Mugabe constitutes a serious crime as set out in the law.

Ms Engels also states in her affidavit that the Foreign States Immunities Act (1981) explicitly excludes the granting of immunity to heads of state who are guilty of the death or injury of people in South Africa.

If heads of state themselves do not receive immunity in such a case, there is no way that their spouses or families can qualify for it.

The court application should be heard in the Pretoria High Court within the next four to five months.

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