Zuma grilled over ‘freeing’ Grace

South African President Jacob Zuma was yesterday grilled by legislators over his government’s decision to grant diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe, following accusations she assaulted a model in that country last month.


South African President Jacob Zuma
South African President Jacob Zuma

Zuma professed ignorance on the matter, then bizarrely said he was not a lawyer and was not directly involved in the saga.

“I am not a lawyer, I don’t know what happened and how the matter at the end, came to a point that it came (sic).

“So all I am saying is that action was taken.

“The police were there and they dealt with the matter and the issue of diplomatic condition came about and actions were taken.

“All I am saying is [that] I can’t answer that detail, I can’t lie.

“What do you say the truth has run away (sic)?” he said.

“Firstly, I have not opened the country to any abuse.

“If somebody, part of the reason why we have the laws in the country is that when somebody commits a crime here, there are law enforcement entities that deal with that and so far, as the matter you are referring to, the police were very active and they were very involved in dealing with that matter.”

This came as the South African High Court will sit on September 19 to hear the first part of a court application filed against Grace over the diplomatic immunity granted to her following her alleged attack on model Gabriella Engels.

Engels’ court application was filed last week in Gauteng by AfriForum lawyers.

The model’s lawyer, Willie Spies of Hurter Spies Attorneys Inc, confirmed the latest developments in emailed responses to NewsDay.

“The first part of our application will be heard on September 19, 2017,” he said.

Engels’ mother, Debbie, also told NewsDay the first part of the court application was set for hearing in just over two weeks’ time.

Grace is cited as the second respondent, while South Africa’s International Relations and Co-operation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is cited as the first respondent.

The first part of the court application seeks authorisation to serve Grace with papers concerning her alleged attack on Engels.

It also states: “In the event of the second respondent [Grace] wishing to oppose the relief set out in Part B, she is directed to file her notice of opposition 30 days from the date of service of this order and in such notice of opposition to appoint attorneys with an address in terms of rule 6(5)(b) of the Uniform Rules of Court, at which address she will accept further service of notices and process in these proceedings.”

If the authorisation is granted, papers are expected to be served to Grace through the Office of the President in Zimbabwe and she will have 30 days to respond.

October 19 has been set as the tentative date for the earliest possible hearing into the case.

South Africa’s official opposition party, Democratic Alliance, has also filed papers at the Constitutional Court challenging Nkoana-Mashabane’s decision to grant diplomatic immunity to Grace.

The party wants the immunity to be declared unconstitutional.

Under South Africa’s Foreign States Immunities Act of 87 of 1981, if “death or injury” is committed, criminal prosecution can be carried out against a foreign national with diplomatic immunity.

Grace reportedly attacked Engels on August 13 at the Capital 20 West Hotel in the swanky suburb of Sandton, where her sons Bellarmine Chatunga and Robert Jnr were partying.



  1. As the leader of Africa’s greatest political and economic powerhouse, Zuma should be ashamed for taking orders from a dictatorship that presides over a fragile banana republic

  2. ivhukuvanhu chete, chete

    Curiously enough, Afriforum is deafeningly silent on the Marikana shootings and killings, let alone the Xenophobia disaster and, burning tyres necklaces, not to mention the Soweto killings of the kids in 1976.

    So much about selective humans rights watchdogs!

    The whole issue is about keeping guard of the White ‘land’, and preemptive measures to check-mate blacks in RSA , not to dare touch their ‘property’.

    It is Apartheid reincarnation struggle to protect it’s skin, nothing more, nothing less.

    1. hear hear!! nothing but a bunch of racists!!

      1. Stupid Afriforum…white racists,heartless human beings.I am not Zanu Pf,yes, but feel justice should prevail in all circumstances that violates human rights.Engels had an altercation with the first Lady so what? How many people have died in South Africa being killed in broad daylight through Xenophobia attacks and we hear no voice of dissent from the white supremacists?Ko the marikana shootings? Grace Mugabe is a citizen of Zimbabwe and munguva yenjodzi makudo anorwirana.In times like these we stand together despite our differences.Mwana wedu tinorowa tega…

        1. Go report your cases to the police and approach Afriforum to represent you or them

    2. The Afriforums – or whatever name they call themselves these racists of this world – are a bunch of quasi supremacists zealots desperate for relevance in the new world where blacks and whites should share the high table with equal entitlements to finite resources such as arable land and underground minerals of this world.

    3. They are defending a weak South African citizen attached by a single powerful, foreign individual who has no respect for other sovereign states. The Marikana issue is being taken care of by other legal experts. AfriForum cannot and should not do everything. They are not the only legal experts in RSA. More so its their right to choose what they think they can do.

    4. You ca never say why are you arresting me and not that one, do it yourself if you see it fit, seyi uchida kuti Afriforum iite basa raisina kupiwa, bancede wena phela.

  3. The fact is that merits of the case prevail over what we may think of in Afriforum. Whether Afriforum has a hidden motive is immaterial to the case in hand, its clearly a genuine case, lets not be deceived and thats why even Afriforum is willing to be xtra patient wth the matter, They have been blessed with a genuine weapon regardless of who they are in reality…

  4. ijere iri vakomana !!!!!!!!!

  5. Justice has to prevail

  6. Hapana jere apo .we are not members of the Zanu pf but south Africa must check back to xenophobia ,how many people killed ,who had been arrested up now .its over.

  7. @masvingo, zanu pf iri kupinda papi apa. why not leave zanu pf alone & let the law take its place

  8. It is the responsibility and in the interest of South Africans to uphold their rights, with Xenophobia, it was in the interest of the Zimbabwean government to seek justice for it’s abandoned citizens in that foreign country. Zimbabwe does have a foreign office in South Africa, what did they do? As long as some people fail to recognise the cause of their misery, very little if any accountability will be directed to the perpetrators of injustice. True foreigners were killed during Xenophobia, in terms of numbers, more people are killed/maimed and disappear in Zimbabwe, not that it is a good comparison but I believe charity begins at home, lets unite to fight the daily abuse and injustice at home before we can qualify to point dirty figures across the border. The very people we defend are making life a living hell for others in their own country, with people sleeping in the open with children their homes burnt to the ground, how does one honesty equate what’s happening before your eyes to what is happening across the border. If there’s a Law in that country someone has to point it out, it’s their right !!

  9. The first lady is South African by naturalisation. She was born in South Africa. She is South African.

  10. Shamhu Kuvanhu Chete Chete

    I am trying to imagine one of Zumas wives beating up a young girl at the Sheraton Hotel in Harare………for whatever reason………………Just imagining!!!!!!!!!

  11. Lapha lingafaki ixenophobia lets just talk abut gires kuti zwakana here zvakanoita kuSA.inin pachezvangu l hate gires bcoz she is not taking us crs she is stupid idiot fool muroyi hure satan indeed

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