DA asks to chal­lenge im­mu­nity

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS -

THE DA yes­ter­day said it has asked the Con­sti­tu­tional Court for ac­cess to chal­lenge South Africa’s de­ci­sion to grant Zim­bab­wean First Lady Grace Mu­gabe im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion after she al­legedly as­saulted a lo­cal woman.

The of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion filed pa­pers a day after AfriFo­rum lodged a re­view ap­pli­ca­tion of the de­ci­sion by In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane.

James Selfe, the chair­man of the DA’s fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive, said grant­ing im­mu­nity had been “hasty, em­bar­rass­ing and above all il­le­gal and un­con­sti­tu­tional”.

He added that it was un­con­scionable the gov­ern­ment al­lowed an­other high pro­file per­son to evade ar­rest after the High Court in Pre­to­ria ruled that it had vi­o­lated the con­sti­tu­tion in the case of Su­danese Pres­i­dent Omar al-Bashir.

The DA ar­gues that noth­ing en­ti­tled Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe’s wife to diplo­matic im­mu­nity.

AfriFo­rum spokesper­son Wil­lie Spies said it had not thought it wise to ap­proach the Con­court as di­rect ac­cess was only granted in ex­cep­tional cases. “But if the court al­lows it, we will ap­ply to have our ap­pli­ca­tion heard there as well.”

Mu­gabe was granted im­mu­nity five days after she al­legedly beat model Gabriella En­gels with an ex­ten­sion cord. – ANA

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