Grace escapes arrest in Joburg

Source: Grace escapes arrest in Joburg – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira and Bridget Mananavire     16 August 2017

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

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

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


  • comment-avatar
    Ulrka 5 years ago

    If she can slap His Excellency The President Of The Republic Of Zimbabwe and Commander in Chief of the Mighy Zimbabwe Defence Forces bla bla bla, what can stop her from roughing-up a girl perceived to be after milking her sons of funds looted from Zimbabwean povo.

  • comment-avatar
    Graham 5 years ago

    Why do the boys need to study in South Africa? They should come home and ‘Dad’ will arrange a doctorate for them in just a few months!