'Utter lies' - Model's mum on Grace Mugabe allegations
The mother of the model who was allegedly assaulted by Zimbabwe’s First Lady‚ Grace Mugabe‚ said claims that her daughter attacked Mugabe are "utter lies".
Gabriella Engels and civil rights group AfriForum filed court papers last month to review the decision by the South African government to grant diplomatic immunity to Mugabe.
Further‚ the applicants want the court to declare that the decision to grant Mugabe immunity does not mean she will not be prosecuted.
Engels and her mother‚ Debbie‚ were in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday‚ along with her legal team‚ to apply to have Grace Mugabe added as a respondent in the case.
Adv. Simba Chitando‚ representing the Zimbabwean embassy‚ said they intend to oppose the application.
Engels has accused Mugabe of assaulting her and two friends at the Capital West 20 Hotel in Sandton‚ Johannesburg‚ on August 13.
In her founding affidavit‚ Engels details how she and her friends visited "acquaintances"‚ when Grace "burst into the hotel room and assaulted me in the presence of her (Mugabe's) bodyguards". They had visited Mugabe's sons‚ Chatunga and Robert jnr.
"She used an electric cord with a plug at the end of it and I was … hit over the forehead‚ causing a gash which has serious repercussions for my appearance and my professional career as a model‚" Engels said in the affidavit.
Photographs taken by her mother showed a gash on Engels's forehead. She also had bruising on her thighs.
Mugabe flew out of the country after Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane granted her diplomatic immunity.
Mugabe has denied assaulting Engels‚ saying an "intoxicated and unhinged" Engels had attacked her with a knife.
Mugabe said she had intervened on behalf of her sons who were "in trouble with a drunken young woman".
In her affidavit‚ Mugabe dismissed Engels's version as "malicious allegations" and said she had been attacked.
Debbie Engels told journalists outside the court: "She is going to have to prove that in court … How can my daughter attack her with a knife when she’s got so many bodyguards?"