A JOHANNESBURG woman has claimed she was assaulted by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s wife‚ Grace.
Times Live/Staff Reporter
Gabriella Engels (20) claimed she was assaulted by Mugabe’s wife at a Sandton‚ Johannesburg‚ hotel around 9pm on Sunday night after she went to visit the President’s two sons, Robert Mugabe Jnr and his sibling Bellarmine Chatunga.
“We were chilling in a hotel room‚ and they were in the room next door‚” Engels said.
“She (Grace) 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.”
She said Grace beat her and two of her friends with an extension cord, as her 10 bodyguards watched after her sons had fled the scene.
Engels said she suffered gashes to her forehead and scalp, with the picture of the injury going viral on social media platforms.
“What is a girl compared to a woman beating you and 10-plus 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.
Gabriella’s mother‚ Debbie‚ yesterday said they would go to the police station to open an assault case.
“When she got home (on Sunday) I was already sleeping. She was in so much shock‚ she couldn’t tell me what happened‚” Debbie said.
“I rushed her to the hospital to get stitches and when she eventually calmed down‚ she told me she was assaulted by Mugabe’s wife.”
Calls and a message to Mugabe’s spokesperson‚ George Charamba‚ went unanswered yesterday‚ while Bellarmine Chatunga also didn’t respond to messages.
South African authorities and Charamba’s deputy, Regis Chikowore, were also unreachable for comment.
Grace recently left for South Africa for treatment following a “freak accident” in which she injured her right ankle at Harare International Airport last month shortly after landing from Singapore.
Garnet Basson‚ chief executive officer of The Capital Hotel Group‚ where the alleged assault took place‚ said there was an incident that prompted management to ask guests to leave the hotel.
“What happened in the hotel room‚ I don’t have a comment on … I can’t disclose the name,” he said.
“We did have guests removed from the premises due to a scenario where we thought it was not good for them to stay there.
“It was almost a forceful exit‚ but it wasn’t. It was a decent exit after about a half an hour of discussions.”