Mugabe hit me: model

Gabriella Engels says Zimbabwe's first lady assaulted her with appliance cord, gashing her forehead

15 August 2017 - 05:51 By Jan Bornman
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, at a rally in Marondera. File Photo.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, at a rally in Marondera. File Photo.
Image: Reuters

A Johannesburg model has claimed she was assaulted by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace, after she partied at a Sandton night club with her two sons.

Gabriella Engels, 20, alleges she was assaulted by Mugabe's wife at the Capital 20 West hotel in Sandton on Sunday night.

Engels said she met Mugabe's two sons at a club for the first time on Saturday night.

"[On Sunday night] we were chilling in a hotel room, and they [the sons] were in the room next door. She came in and started hitting us. The front of my forehead is busted open. I'm a model and I make my money based on my looks," Engels said.

She came in and started hitting us. The front of my forehead is busted open.
Gabriella Engels

The model said Mugabe beat her and two of her friends with an extension cord, while Mugabe's bodyguards looked on.

Garnet Basson, CEO of the Capital hotel group, said there was an incident that prompted management to ask guests to leave.

"What happened in the hotel room, I don't have a comment on ... I can't disclose the name. We did have guests removed from the premises due to a scenario where we thought it was not good for them to stay there."

Engels said she suffered gashes to her forehead and scalp.

The Times has seen pictures of the injuries.

"What is a girl compared to a woman beating you and 10+ bodyguards standing back, leaving her to do this sh*t," she tweeted about the incident.

Engels said she went to the nearest police station on Sunday night, but was shown away by the police officer on duty, who told her to first seek medical attention.

Engels' mother, Debbie, said they were going to open an assault case yesterday.

"She was in so much shock, she couldn't tell me what happened," the mother said.

"I rushed her to the hospital to get stitches and when she calmed down, she told me she was assaulted by Mugabe's wife," she said.

 

Calls and a Facebook message to Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, went unanswered yesterday, while Mugabe's one son, Chatunga Bellarmine, didn't respond to messages on Facebook either.

Grace Mugabe's spokesman, Olga Bungu, declined to comment.

Zimbabwean news reported that Mugabe was in South Africa for treatment following a "freak accident" in which she hurt her ankle.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation said diplomatic immunity would not apply in this case.

Spokesman Clayson Monyela said Mugabe would not receive diplomatic immunity.

"It won't apply if she's here on holiday or for something else," he said.

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