Zimbabwe’s former First Lady Grace Mugabe has been told that she cannot buy justice by the mother of a South African girl she is alleged to have assaulted in August last year.
According to the African News Agency, Debbie Engels, mother of Gabriella, told the media yesterday that she would continue to press for charges against Grace Mugabe and will not accept any money.
“You can’t buy justice. You cannot just give a sum of money and my daughter is supposed to heal and just accept. At the end of the day, my daughter still doesn’t know why this woman (Grace Mugabe) came and attacked her from nowhere,” Debbie said.
“All the stories that have been circulating, that my daughter attacked Grace, it is utter lies. There are witnesses that were in the room. They say this woman just barged into the room and hit her [Gabriella]. We want to know why she did that.
“You can’t put a child through trauma and then come and just give her a certain amount of money, expecting that child to go on with her life. The trauma must be washed away with money? That’s not how it works. My child needs that closure.
“She needs to hear from Grace Mugabe as to why she did what she did so that my daughter can heal."
Grace Mugabe is alleged to have assaulted Gabriella in August last year when she found her in the company of her two sons at a luxury hotel in Sandton.
She escaped prosecution after the South African government granted her immunity to return to Zimbabwe with her husband who was attending a Southern African Development Community meeting in South Africa.
Several groups including the opposition Democratic Alliance and Afriforum have gone to court to challenge the granting of immunity to the former First Lady.
Lawyers for the South African government argued that Pretoria never gave Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity but merely recognised the immunity she enjoyed as President Robert Mugabe’s wife.
Judgment was reserved.
Debbie Engels said she would do everything to make sure Grace Mugabe is prosecuted.
“We will definitely be continuing with the criminal case. At the end of the day, all we want is for Grace Mugabe to come stand in the dock. She must come answer as to why she attacked my daughter in the first place,” she said.
Afriforum says it will institute private prosecution against Grace Mugabe if the National Prosecution Authority refuses to prosecute her if the immunity is nullified.