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Sunday, 20 August 2017

South Africa remains silent as Grace Mugabe leaves country

South African authorities have allowed Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe return to Harare, without pressing the charge of assault against her.

Zimbabwe media confirmed Grace’s arrival in Harare, a week after a 20-year-old model, Gabriella Engels, accused her of assault in an upmarket Johannesburg hotel room. Although South African police claimed to have placed border posts on “red alert” to prevent her leaving the country, it is now confirmed that the wife of 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe had been granted diplomatic immunity.
Zimbabwean state media reported that the president and first lady arrived in Harare aboard an Air Zimbabwe plane in the early hours of Sunday. A source confirmed this to Reuters. A bruised Gabriella Engels has accused Grace Mugabe of whipping her with an electric extension cable a week ago as she waited with two friends in a luxury hotel suite to meet one of Mugabe’s adult sons.

President Mugabe attended a South African Development Community summit in Pretoria on Saturday, but his 52-year-old wife was not there or part of his delegation. Harare has made no official comment on the saga and requests for comment from Zimbabwean government officials have gone unanswered. The South African government has limited all official comment to the police ministry and international relations department spokespeople did not answer calls for comment.

South Africa’s main opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), blamed the ministers of police, international relations and defence for the failure to detain Mugabe and said it wants the matter investigated.

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