Tuesday, August 15, 2017

S. African police still negotiating with Grace Mugabe to surrender to authorities after model assault: source

Photo credit: Edge Breaking News (Twitter)

South African police are still negotiating with Grace Mugabe's legal team to get the wife of the Zimbabwean president to hand herself in to authorities and appear in court over allegations that she assaulted a woman she found with her sons in Johannesburg over the weekend, a senior police source said.

"The negotiations for her to hand herself in are still going on. We are at a point where we cannot effect an arrest yet," the source told Reuters.

South African police minister Fikile Mbalula said earlier that Grace, who is married to President Robert Mugabe, had handed herself in to police and would appear in court.

The attack

Mugabe was to appear in a South African court Tuesday after she allegedly used an extension cord to assault a model who was at a Johannesburg hotel with her two sons.

The alleged attack threatened to spark a major diplomatic incident between the two neighbouring countries which have strong political and economic ties.

Grace Mugabe, 52, is accused of beating Gabriella Engels, 20, on Sunday evening with an electrical extension cord, leaving her with injuries on her forehead and the back of her head.

"She's not under arrest because she cooperated and handed herself over to the police," South African Police Minister Fikile Mbalula told reporters.

"In terms of foreign citizens, they must understand they have responsibilities, especially those who hold diplomatic passports."

Gabriella Engels

Pictures on social media appeared to show Engels with a bleeding head injury after the alleged incident at the Capital 20 West Hotel in the upmarket Johannesburg district of Sandton.

"I cannot just go to Zimbabwe and beat up people there and then the matter will disappear," Mbalula said.

"From the police side, we have had to act in the interests of the victim, we have opened a case."

According to local media, Mugabe was to appear at Randburg Magistrate's Court at 2:00 pm (1200 GMT).

She allegedly arrived at the hotel with bodyguards and accused Engels of partying with her sons Robert and Chatunga, both in their 20s, who live in the South African city.

"We were chilling in a hotel room, and (the sons) were in the room next door. She came in and started hitting us," Engels was quoted as saying by the Times Live website on Monday.

"The front of my forehead is busted open. I'm a model and I make my money based on my looks."


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