Grace escapes arrest in Joburg

HARARE - First Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday escaped arrest in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she was slapped with charges for severely assaulting a 20-year-old woman she had found with her sons at an upmarket hotel in Sandton, on Sunday.

On a dramatic day, South Africa’s Police minister Fikile Mbalula said Grace had handed over herself to the police after Gabriella Engels filed criminal charges against her at Sandton police on Monday.

“The law is about ensuring that everybody is protected and in terms of foreign citizens, they must understand their responsibility especially those who hold a diplomatic passport, but I cannot just go to Zimbabwe and beat up people there and then the matter will disappear…

“But from police side, we have had to act in the interest of the victims who have opened a case and we have responded,” Mbalula said.

There was confusion when the police corrected Mbalula that Grace and her lawyers were still negotiating with police before the First Lady would hand over herself.

As a result, journalists camped at two different locations as police did not say which court Grace was going to appear.

According to the South African media, police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo and police ministry spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said grace had niot handed herself over by close of business – fuelling talk that she could have been allowed to leave South Africa – in the same manner that Sudanese president Al-Bashir did when he entered South Africa a few years ago when an international arrest warrant had been issued for his capture for crimes against humanity.

Reports said Grace had boarded a private jet at Swakompund Airport to avoid drawing attention and arrived in Harare via Charles Prince Airport, near Mount Hampden.

Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba was not reachable for comment while South African police insisted that she was still in South Africa.

By the end of day Grace had not appeared in court while the South African National Prosecuting Authority said it had not received her docket, to further fuel confusion.

Earlier in the day the ruling African National Congress (ANC) had applauded the police for taking action against Grace.

“We welcome the fact that the first lady, Zimbabwe (Grace Mugabe) is appearing in court for doing what shouldn’t be done,” ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe wrote on micro blogging site Twitter.

South African Police Services (SAPS) had earlier in a statement, without naming Grace, it had opened a case against “a prominent” woman and it had to do with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH).

“The investigation into this case has already reached an advanced stage. The suspect in this matter cannot be named because she has not as yet appeared in court.

“We request that the SAPS be allowed to conduct a thorough investigation and to follow due process,” Naidoo had said earlier said, in a statement.

The First Family’s sons, Robert Junior and Chatunga Bellarmine, are resident in Johannesburg where they are studying following the decision to relocate Junior, who had been based in the United Arab Emirates.

In June Grace was forced to make an emergency trip to Johannesburg to sort new accommodation for Junior and Chatunga after they were told to leave their plush residence following an orgy of violence which left one of their bodyguards injured.

On Sunday Grace was accused by Engels who alleged that she was assaulted by Mugabe’s wife in an upmarket Sandton hotel around 9pm after she went to visit her two sons with her friends she claimed were close to the First Family’s boys.

She said when she arrived at the hotel, one of Grace’s bodyguards asked her and a friend to wait in a separate room before the First Lady allegedly started beating her.

“When Grace entered I had no idea who she was. She walked in with an extension cord and just started beating me with it,” Engels said on Monday as she filed an assault charge against Grace.

Engels said Grace accused her of living with her sons.

“She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug. Over and over. I had no idea what was going on. I was surprised… I needed to crawl out of the room before I could run away.

“Her ten bodyguards just stood there watching, no one did anything, no one tried to help me.

“I am a model, with this scar over my face my whole career is ruined.

“I don’t know how to deal with this, but I am trying hard. I am trying so hard to be strong,” said Engels.

Engels later posted several pictures of her injuries which she said were caused by an extension cable allegedly used by Grace during the assault.

The pictures sent social media into meltdown as the world was abuzz with Grace’s alleged assault of the model.

Grace has in the past been caught in incidents of violence.

In 2009 Grace was investigated by Hong Kong police for an alleged assault on a British photographer during a shopping trip to the city.

She was accused of repeatedly punching Richard Jones — chief photographer of the Hong Kong photo agency Sinopix — who was on an assignment for the British Sunday Times.

In 2014, Grace confronted journalists at a Singaporean hospital as she bid to block them from photographing Mugabe as he entered Gleneagles facility for his medical check-up.

According to Mugabe, Grace missed last week’s youth interface rally in Gwanda as she had travelled to South Africa for treatment on her injured ankle.

Of late both Mugabe and Grace have been showing signs of exasperation with their sons with the Zanu PF leader publicly warning Chatunga to lay off fun and concentrate on his studies.

Grace, just like her husband, last month shared her agony with relatives over the continuing wayward behaviour of sons.

The errant and fun-loving Mugabe’s sons, despite their status in society, have found it difficult to lead restricted lifestyles and have often been pictured mingling with ordinary Zimbabweans at football matches and upmarket entertainment venues.

Speaking at Grace’s lavish 50th birthday celebrations that took place on Chatunga’s then 18th birthday, in 2015 Mugabe said he feared that his son could be headed for disaster if he did not improve on his discipline.

It was also revealed at those celebrations that Mugabe left it to his wife to discipline the children.

“I say congratulations to Bellarmine, Bellarmine Bellarmine, and I want to say in this environment perhaps it will give him more encouragement and greater sense of seriousness, that you are now a grown person, mature.

“Not yet eligible to marry, but to certainly devote to your studies with greater seriousness, we want you to go through. You’re ‘‘A’’Level, let us not see you fail.

“The constant retreats to restaurants, refusing to eat at home should stop now,” Mugabe said then.

As if to confirm his father’s fears, Chatunga gave the gathered guests at the bash a glimpse of his lack of maturity — while giving a speech at the party.

Rather thoughtlessly, the then 18-year-old directed people to give him applause because he was “handsome”.

Chatunga was expelled from a top Harare private school, St Georges College, in 2013 — over gross-indiscipline, prompting his parents to resort to home schooling.

During an interview that the First Family had with South African journalist Dali Tambo a few years ago, Grace also revealed that her son preferred spending time playing video games rather than studying.

In 2009, Chatunga reportedly flunked his Grade 7 examinations, managing to score 14 points in the exams at the prestigious Hartmann House — and ranking among the very few students who failed in his class.

While Mugabe was a high flier at school, earning several academic achievements in the process, only his daughter Bona appears to have taken after him.

She is a holder of an Accountancy degree and made her family proud when she wed pilot Simba Chikore in 2015. — With Agencies

Comments (10)

Uncultured idiot.Kabophele inja zakhe.That poor little girl did not invade State House premises.In the first place why are there in South Africa,why run away from their country?

Gen. Spinola - 16 August 2017

Uncultured idiot.Kabophele inja zakhe.That poor little girl did not invade State House premises.In the first place why are there in South Africa,why run away from their country?

Gen. Spinola - 16 August 2017

So where is she as of now ? the reason why women or men sometime become violet is they are sex starved

Diibulaanyika - 16 August 2017

Grace still needs to go back to SA for medical attention and the law must take its coarse. We can't allow criminals to run away from justice.

Ziziharinanyanga - 16 August 2017

The moment Grace decided to award herself a fake PhD, we were in trouble. Anyone willing to humiliate oneself at that level is capable of anything. No shame. She didn't even attend to get a honorary PhD.

zuze - 16 August 2017

just wait until it is all blamed on illegal sanctions imposed on us by our erstwhile colonisers! the sanctions ramblings neva go out of fashion & its always to blame!

SaManyika Chaiye - 16 August 2017

She is now a fugitive. She must go back to S.A and taste the rule of law. they are used to applying the law selectively

Auto - 16 August 2017

Grace is still in SA where she is still at large and on the run . She is not in Zim .We are keeping our fingers crossed hoping the SAPS will catch up with her bring her before the courts where she will the face the music . Heiish Mama Mafuyana and mama Sally must be turning in their graves what are disgrace to the nation

Dave - 16 August 2017

Tonakwa zvedu isu vana Masamba nasvo svikadzi isvi. Svino performer wena. Heyi lina !

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 16 August 2017

Grace is just showing her true natural colours. She is a street prostitute, simple and square. All Zimbabweans must se her in that light

zano - 17 August 2017

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