‘Grace Mugabe immunity invalid’

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe faces the risk of prosecution in spite of her diplomatic immunity, as South Africa’s Foreign States Immunities Act of 87 of 1981 states that if “death or injury” is committed, criminal prosecution can be done, court papers show.


First Lady Grace Mugabe’s violence victim Gabriella Engels
First Lady Grace Mugabe’s violence victim Gabriella Engels

AfriForum, on behalf of aggrieved South African model Gabriella Engels, filed a court application on Wednesday, where they said section 6(a) states no foreign person shall be immune to criminal charges if death or injury was caused to a South African national.

In the court application, Grace was cited as the second respondent, while South Africa’s Department for International Relations and Co-operation, which granted the Zimbabwean First Lady diplomatic immunity, is the first respondent.

“A foreign State [which includes the Head of State] shall not be immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of the republic in proceedings relating to, inter alia (among other things), the injury of any person caused by an act or omission in the republic,” the court papers read.

“Any derivative immunity that may attach to the President of Zimbabwe would, in our contention, not contain immunity in conflict with section 6(a) of the Foreign States Immunities Act.

“If the minister intended such immunity, it would lack legality and be irrational.”

Section 2(2)(a) of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act 37 of 2001 states that immunity is stripped if the accused person, if convicted, could face five or more years in jail.

The Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act 37 of 2001 enacts into South African law the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which is widely used for most global diplomatic transactions.

“The purpose of the Vienna Convention is set out in the preamble, thereof:

“One of the founding principles set out in the preamble is the realisation that the purpose of such privileges is not to benefit individuals, but to ensure the efficient performance of the functions of diplomatic missions representing States,” the court papers read.

“In it, one of the founding principles is that the purposes of privileges and immunities are not to benefit individuals but ‘to ensure the efficient performance of the functions of diplomatic missions as representing States’.”

When the alleged attack took place on August 13, at the Capital 20 West Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, Grace was reportedly responding to calls to address her sons, Bellarmine Chatunga and Robert Jnr.

Grace was given until October 19 to defend herself against the court application filed against her at the Pretoria High Court in South Africa.

Service of papers to Grace will be done before September 19, 30 days before the proposed October date, to give her time to respond.

AfriForum said the papers would be served at President Robert Mugabe’s offices, as Zimbabwe’s high commission in South Africa is not permitted by law to receive lawsuits and legal papers of that kind.

“Since service on the second respondent needs to be authorised by the court in a separate and preceding interlocutory application for substitued service and edictal citation, a date no later than September 19, 2017 is necessary for hearing of part A proceedings,” the papers read.

AfriForum said International Relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had erred in granting Grace immunity.

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  1. BITCH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. This will save millions in Zimbabweans tax payers money as Grace and her son’s run out of places to go and eat Zimbabweans money.

  2. Not surprised, immunity was not meant for rowdy behaviour like Grace’s. You can’t bash people around and then claim immunity. How far can someone go then?

  3. Keep on the pressure! She must face the full wrath of the law.

    1. Petros Magomazi

      And that will lead to a diplomatic stand-off. The Air Zim and SAA saga was just an indication of what can actually happen. Trade and business will come to a stand still for what? Please, we must not allow emotions to get the better of sound judgment.

      1. You are empty in the head

  4. as long revolutionary party are still in power they keep on twisting the constitution to suit their needs.

    1. Chubb Antonio Feremenga

      Oh yah, we wait to see the gymnastics

  5. Some things don’t even need to reason this is a pure case that needs justice to be administered.

  6. Petros Magomazi

    Please please!! Which planet are you from? You think you can arrest a first lady of a neighbouring country and expect relations to stay the same. Look at what happened over the weekend with Airlines? Business will suffer my friend. That is why there is Diplomatic Immunity. Take a moment and think about the implications Jecha. There are many cases to refer to where worse crimes were committed.

    1. even the current situation can worsen diplomatic relations….after all we benefit most from SA so I think they should just try and arrest her

    2. The diplomatic immunity doctrine is intended for the smooth functioning of diplomatic missions. It is not there to protect criminality.

  7. Moms namudhara vanhu vanondinakidza ivava. Kuzoti vafana vano sparker manje.

  8. Chasing after shadows. The case is as good as closed. Who will serve those papers and to whom in this country. We know you have your anger and we also have ours but on this one sorry mates you can shout all you want case is closed.

  9. To hail with AfriForum

    1. Yes HAIL to Afriforum! Unless you mean to HELL.

  10. One has to be naive to dream that Grace will be prosecuted. Its either you have stayed too long in Zimbabwe and dont know SA politics and generally naive and a bit silly. As much as l am no fan of Amai, that wont happen. This will dealt with as a diplomatic-polical issue not strictly legal issue. Even if the court rules against the “immoral” girl, Zuma wont allow prosecution to happen.

    So please dont hold you breathe, you may just collapse.

    1. ooh God what sort of people we are that we see among us brothers and sisters celebrating and bragging about Madam Grace shiting in some other person’s pot. Hanzi hapana zvavanomuita vofarira izvozvo.

    2. There is still independence of the judiciary and the executive in South Africa. Zuma effectively can’t do anything.

  11. Justice must prevail at the end of the day.Zuma was taken to court at one point, nothing will stop the wheels of justice, it might delay but eventually Justice is needed. God is just.

  12. Grace musungwa full stop

  13. No one touch our First Lady. Not even the useless South Africa Police who eat left over of the White impirialist. They try to febricate that the impirialist girl was attacked yet she is one tryied to harm our first lady. Ma south african police akaterera ma Rhodesian instructions vanee dziri mbwende.

    1. Read your comment again and ask yourself if it makes sense

    2. hamuzi kuhwikwa Cde Rutsitu madii mangotsigira bato nekuimba kumaRally kana kubikira vanhu zvenyu nokuti zvekutaura hamukwanise

    3. if you were a real cde you should have been apologizing on Graces Mugabe’s behalf because wrong is wrong ..if u take your poop and lace it with icing sugar it remain DUZVI it wont change… the first lady did wrong, violence is not acceptable at all….Chronicle/ Herald/ Sunday News didn’t write anything on this matter because they understand there was no way they could justify Dr Amai case.. I support Zanu PF but i dont support violence

  14. I hope the International community will also see how these ‘Big Wigs’ trash on poor souls and get away with it using their muscles. If she can do such a thing to a foreign national in her country(SA), then how many locals(Zimbabweans) have suffered similar cases in Zimbabwe? Beating up people is actually her habit such an act cannot be a mere once off thing.

  15. I don’t think Grace will stand in any court anytime soon, but the due process taken by Afriforum is good. All I want is the decision to grant diplomatic immunity to be declared a farce, it’s about the principle chete. The world must know that in a normal environment such barbaric acts will not be tolerated

  16. Zuma cannot stop a criminal case from being tried and prosecuted. What he can do is pardon Grace if she is found guily. In the meantime, the case serves the purposes stopping her haphazard trips into SA, and the pilferage of hard earned US dollars by the Mugabe boys. They were not studying, just an excuse to party on a student visa. Grace cannot risk going into SA with this case in the courts so just that humiliation is the best we may get. If no jail term is granted, there might be a chance of Grace’s properties being attached in a civil suit but we know most of the properties are not in her name.

    Cde Rutsitu, endai munoimbe kurally shuwa. Zvekuverenga izvi zvakakupfuurai pamakatiza kuenda kuhondo muchiita morari every night.

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