Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe has claimed diplomatic immunity after being accused of assaulting a 20-year-old model, South African police said Wednesday, confirming she had not fled the country.
“The suspect(s) lawyers and her government representatives made verbal representations... that the suspect wished to invoke diplomatic immunity cover,” a statement from the police ministry said.
The 52-year-old wife of President Robert Mugabe is accused of attacking Gabriella Engels on Sunday evening at a Johannesburg hotel where the first lady’s two sons were staying.
Engels has registered a case with the police alleging assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, saying she suffered deep cuts to her forehead and the back of her head.
The police said that Grace Mugabe had been expected to report to a police station on Tuesday to give her version of the events and “obtain a warning statement”, but that she failed to show up.
They added that she was scheduled to attend a regional summit of the Southern African Development Community in Pretoria where her husband and other heads of state were to be present.