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We didn't arrest Grace Mugabe because of her status

17 August 2017 - 12:38 By Nico Gous
Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula.
Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula.
Image: Masi Losi/Sunday Times

South African police have avoided arresting Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe as a result of her status‚ Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Thursday.

Mbalula was asked what measures the police had put in place to ensure Mugabe does not leave the country.

“We‚ in terms of (the) South African Police‚ we had already put tabs on the borders in relation to her leaving the country‚” Mbalula said.

“If it was somebody else ... we could have long moved a raid on her in terms of the issues.”

Mbalula said Grace has “her own version” of the alleged assault and never tried to flee the country.

Mbalula was addressing the media on Thursday on the sidelines of the Ayihlome Indaba Against Gender-Based Violence at the Velmore Hotel in Laudium close to Pretoria.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has to determine if Mugabe will be granted diplomatic immunity.

She has been accused of assaulting 20-year-old Gabriella Engels with an extension cord at a luxury hotel in Sandton‚ Johannesburg‚ on Sunday night‚ where Mugabe’s two sons were staying.

Engels on Monday opened a case of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm at the Sandton police station‚ and Mugabe was expected to be appear in court on Tuesday. But by the close of business she hadn’t been arrested or handed herself over to the police.