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Trouble Looms As Grace Mugabe’s Assault Allegation Takes A New Turn

Gabriella Engels, who claims to have been assaulted by Grace Mugabe, looks on during a news conference in Pretoria, South Africa, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Should Zimbabwean first woman Grace Mugabe be served court papers at the Zimbabwean international safe haven in South Africa or face to face in her nation?

That is the thing that acting judge Harshila Kooverjile must choose after a few elements were raised amid contention on Tuesday.

The embassy has applied to become an intervening party in AfriForum’s application to see a decision by International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to push Mugabe diplomatic immunity aside.

Both Engels and her mother Debbie were in court during proceedings accompanied by AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel.

In what is the first hurdle in its application, AfriForum has to get permission to serve papers on Mugabe who is in a foreign country.

In what was a lengthy exchange, AfriForum’s Advocate Etienne Labuschagne and the embassy’s Advocate Simba Chitando spent about three hours in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria arguing the technicalities of where Mugabe should be served papers.

Image result for AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel.

In his argument, Labuschagne argued that the embassy had no leg to stand on as the case was between AfriForum and the court. The intervening party had no right to oppose the application, he said.

Labuschagne argued that AfriForum had the right to institute proceedings before the court saying they want to serve Mugabe at the president’s office but Chitando replied: “She doesn’t reside there.”

“It doesn’t make any grammatical sense or even logical sense to say Grace Mugabe resides in the presidency,” Chitando told the High Court on Tuesday.

Chitando argued that the issue had been complex, but this had not been a proper ex parte application.

“Look, if you want to serve on the president, the president’s representative is here…It is not for us to say we are going to help you find addresses,” he said.

“We are not going to find new laws for Grace Mugabe, we are going to deal with the laws that are here.”

But Labuschagne said, “We are not dealing with someone who needs to be traced. We are dealing with a high profile wife of a president.’’


“I think the Zimbabwean government will keep delaying this matter but on the other hand we are also patient,” Spies said.


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