By TimesLive and Zimbabwe Digital News
Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe reportedly hit everyone on sight after she flew into a rage at a Sandton hotel last week and beat up a model, and the incident continues to be front page news, one week later.
South African newspapers continued to pore over the many angles to the incident this week, and signs are that Zimbabwe’s first lady, who was born in Benoni, will continue to be a subject of much reportage in the immediate future.
Mrs Mugabe beat up Johannesburg woman, Gabriella Engels, 20, who was partying with her two sons, and then went live on Twitter on Monday accusing Mrs Mugabe of attacking her with an extension chord. She posted pictures of her injuries on her twitter feed.
TimesLive and The Sunday Times went to town with the story this week, reporting that the waitress who had walked in on the incident suffered a miscarriage after she was pushed by Robert Mugabe jnr during the commotion as he fled his mother’s violent attack at the Sandton hotel
“Grace did hit staff members … She was hitting everyone – her sons, their friends, the girls and staff members.”
The waitress at Capital 20 West was delivering food when Robert jnr ran past her and pushed her out of the way. The woman fell to the ground and was rushed to hospital, where she later lost her baby.
A hotel employee confirmed the incident.
“She was not hit by Grace. It was Robert jnr who pushed her out of the way as he ran away from his mother.
Another hotel staff member, who did not want to be named, said the waitress had been delivering food on that floor when she got caught in the fracas.
“There was a meeting between Grace Mugabe’s people and the hotel’s human resources people on Tuesday,” he said.
Garnet Basson, chief operating officer at The Capital Hotel Group, did not confirm or deny the incident, but said: “We are handling this thing internally. Please respect that. We will decide on how to deal with this matter going forward.
“It’s the staff member’s privacy that we must respect. I can assure you that we are doing everything in all aspects to ensure that we follow the necessary steps.”
Meanhile South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) confirmed that Zimbabwe First Lady Grace Mugabe had been granted diplomatic immunity.
Calls for parliamentary Inquiry
At the same time the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday it would demand an immediate Parliamentary inquiry into the government’s complicity in allowing Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe to “flee the country in the dead of night to avoid criminal prosecution”.
“The inquiry should call on the ministers of Police‚ International Relations and Cooperation‚ and Defence and Military Veterans to account for their failures‚” said DA chief whip John Steenhuisen.
“It is simply inexplicable how this has happened again. It illustrates how unrepentant the ANC government is and‚ following its complicity in allowing Sudanese president Omar al Bashir to escape an international arrest warrant‚ shows that the ANC government will continue to do exactly what it wants to protect their dodgy friends‚” Steenhuisen asserted.
Minister agonised over decision
Dirco said in a statemen that Dirco Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had “agonised’ over the matter and that it had not been an easy decision to make‚ but that diplomatic immunity was warranted after careful consideration of all the relevant factors.
Grace had invoked diplomatic immunity after assault charges were laid against her after she allegedly assaulted a woman‚ Gabriella Engels‚ and hotel staff in Sandton‚ Johannesburg‚ last week.
She flew back to Zimbabwe with her husband‚ President Robert Mugabe‚ in the early hours of Sunday‚ according to reports from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
Among relevant factors Dirco said it had considered in granting Grace diplomatic immunity were the fact that the matter coincided with South Africa’s hosting of the 37th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government that took place in Sandton at the weekend.
It also took into account legal considerations‚ including “derivative immunity of spouses of Heads of State”.
Other considerations were “the imperative to maintain good inter-government relations within the SADC region‚ and in particular between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe”‚ it said.
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