DA files pa­pers against Grace Mu­gabe im­mu­nity

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS -

THE DA has filed pa­pers with the Con­sti­tu­tional Court re­quest­ing di­rect ac­cess to ar­gue that the diplo­matic im­mu­nity granted to Zim­babwe’s first lady was with­out le­gal merit.

The DA said the de­ci­sion taken by In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion Min­is­ter Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane to grant Grace Mu­gabe (pic­tured) im­mu­nity should be set aside be­cause it was with­out le­gal merit and should thus be de­clared un­con­sti­tu­tional and in­valid.

“The DA be­lieves that the de­ci­sion by the min­is­ter‚ 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 [Su­danese Pres­i­dent Omar] al-Bashir mat­ter that the ANC-led gov­ern­ment would once again let a high-pro- file per­son es­cape jus­tice in South Africa.

“It is clear that Grace Mu­gabe was granted im­mu­nity sim­ply to shield her from be­ing tried in a court of law for her as­sault on Gabriella En­gels and two oth­ers on 13 Au­gust 2017.

“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.

“Grace Mu­gabe 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,” the DA said.

Mu­gabe is accused of as­sault­ing 20-year-old Gabriella En­gels and her two friends at a lux­ury Johannesburg ho­tel last week.

She flew out of the coun­try un- der the cover of dark­ness at the week­end af­ter Nkoana-Masha­bane con­tro­ver­sially granted her diplo­matic im­mu­nity.

En­gels and AfriFo­rum have al­ready filed pa­pers with the high court in Pre­to­ria chal­leng­ing the de­ci­sion to grant Mu­gabe diplo­matic im­mu­nity.

The DA filed the pa­pers on Wed­nes­day. – Pen­well Dlamini

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