DA begins legal fight against Grace immunity

HARARE - South African opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) yesterday launched a Constitutional Court (Con-Court) battle seeking a declaration that the decision by the minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to grant diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwe First Lady Grace Mugabe be declared unconstitutional and invalid.

With passions inflamed by the decision to let Grace leave the neighbouring country after it was claimed she whipped 20-year-old model Gabriella Engels with an electrical cord in a luxury hotel room in Johannesburg, the DA want the diplomatic immunity set aside arguing it was wholly without legal merit.

This comes as advocacy group AfriForum, which is giving legal backing to Engels, and is working on the case with Gerrie Nel — the prosecutor who secured a murder conviction against Oscar Pistorius — also started taking legal action over the government’s decision to grant her diplomatic immunity on Wednesday.

The DA filed papers in the Con-Court yesterday requesting direct access to the apex court, citing Nkoana-Mashabane, SA President Jacob Zuma, Engels and national director of public prosecutions as respondents.

The DA argued in its urgent application that the decision by Nkoana-Mashabane, in granting immunity, was “hasty, embarrassing and above all illegal and unconstitutional”.

“It is frankly unconscionable that after the scathing ruling by the Constitutional Court in the Al Bashir matter that the ANC-led government would once again let a high-profile person escape justice in South Africa,” the court papers say.

The International Criminal Court last month rebuked South Africa for not arresting Sudan’s president on a genocide warrant when he visited Johannesburg in 2015, but declined to refer Pretoria to the United Nations for possible censure over the lapse.

The DA, led by Musi Maimane, said it was clear that Grace was granted immunity simply to shield her from being tried in a court of law for her assault on Engels and two others on August 13.

It said in its Con-Court papers that condoning such behaviour, as the granting of immunity did, cannot possibly be in the interests of South Africa.

“There is therefore no legal basis for such a decision,” the court papers said.

The DA said Grace is not a member of the Zimbabwean government and she was in South Africa on personal business.

“There is nothing in either South African or international law which renders her deserving of diplomatic immunity,” it argued, adding the incident is yet another example of how the ANC-led government is intent on protecting the elite of Africa by abusing its statutory powers at the expense of justice for ordinary South Africans.

Comments (5)

Makajaidzwa imi vanhu vaHelen Zille.

Dr Amai - 26 August 2017

Why are these Afrikaaner elements not raising the illegality of this drug mule,Engels .

Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof) - 26 August 2017

You want them to keep quiet when they are being provided with all opportunity to discredit the ANC. You should be asking yourself why our own first lady behaves like that in a glass house. She unwittingly put her ANC comrades under pressure, thats all. You people nver cease to amase me.

selele - 26 August 2017

@Cde Muzvinavhu(Prof). You are all over with your politics of defence and revenge. I am wondering what/which audience you are conjuring in your mind. Grace committed a crime. Nevermind the relationship between Mugabe`s sons and the woman Engels. The crime is what people are looking at, Afrikaaner or anybody else. I have seen your posts on The Herald website boasting about how much you have harvested in your fields as though you are the only black person to harvest anything after land redistribution and resettlement. I would like to remind you that alot of our parents who not professors have been reaping the same or better even before the resettlement. My point is its because of people like you who have read piles of books and awardedcertificates for that but, unfortunately, remained in the caves of their dull heredity and firmly believe they can simply rubbish facts. Kana vekwako vachikuombera nehutununu hwako rega kufunga kuti nyika yose yeZimbabwe ndizvo zvairi. Munoti nyadzisa isu kana muchizviti vana professor - professor wechii ?

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 26 August 2017

@masamba akareyo these cowards hide from reality by reading books i know one learned one from Tsholotsho. Always defending the indefensible.

Jinda - 26 August 2017

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