Grace Mugabe's diplomatic immunity 'unconstitutional', judge rules

The decision to grant Zimbabwe's former first lady diplomatic immunity was 'inconsistent with the constitution'

30 July 2018 - 12:10 By Amil Umraw
Grace Mugabe
Grace Mugabe
Image: Katherine Muick

The decision to grant former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity is "inconsistent with the constitution", the South Gauteng High Court found on Monday. 

Judge Bashier Vally set aside the decision by former international relations and cooperation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Vally said Nkoana-Mashabane's decision had been inconsistent with provisions in the constitution.

The ministry has also been ordered to pay the costs of the application‚ brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The wife of former president Robert Mugabe was accused of assaulting South African model Gabriella Engels at a Johannesburg hotel‚ where Mugabe's two sons were staying.

Engels sustained deep cuts to her forehead and the back of her head and registered a case with the police the next day. But the state granted Mugabe immunity‚ saying it was imperative to maintain good intergovernmental relations within the region‚ and in particular‚ between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The DA and AfriForum approached the courts to set the decision aside soon after.