The NPA was silent yesterday about AfriForum's claims that the prosecuting authority has applied for the extradition of Zimbabwe's former first lady Grace Mugabe. A News24 report says the extradition is in connection with the alleged assault of model Gabriella Engels in Johannesburg in 2017.

Said AfriForum: ‘AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit was, on inquiry, informed that the (NPA) has applied to have Grace Mugabe extradited to SA. Grace Mugabe (allegedly) assaulted and seriously injured Gabriella Engels, a Johannesburg model, with an extension cord in 2017.’

The case relates to the alleged assault of Engels while in the company of one of Mugabe's sons Bellarmine Chatunga at a hotel.

Engels alleged that Mugabe hit her with an extension cord. Mugabe said it was the other way around, that Engels came at her with a knife. However, Mugabe never answered to the case due to her being granted diplomatic immunity which enabled her to leave SA at the time.

Afriforum said the NPA’s decision follows the Gauteng High Court's ruling last year that the decision by Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, former Dirco Minister, to grant Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity, should be set aside.

Full News24 report

International law expert Professor Hennie Strydom, of the University of Johannesburg, is sceptical about the prospects of an extradition request succeeding, according to a Beeld report.

‘Zimbabwe has always protected the Mugabes. They could refuse (to extradite her) and that won’t help us in any way.’

Strydom says there are legal and political routes to follow. A court in Zimbabwe would have to decide on the extradition and the final decision could be with that country’s Minister of Justice. He says the SADC also has special arrangements for extraditions that could assist local authorities. Beeld says it has seen a copy of the warrant for arrest for Mugabe, who is to be charged with assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm as well as crimen injuria.

Full Beeld report (subscription needed)