Aviation dispute raises South Africa-Zimbabwe tensions

Aviation dispute raises South Africa-Zimbabwe tensions

"The minister has made the determination that the conferring of diplomatic immunity is warranted in this particular instance", the ministry said Sunday, citing a need "to maintain good inter-governmental relations" in the region. Her added that the family is not interested in pursuing that route.

South African model who was allegedly beaten by Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe was offered a blank cheque. "And the granting of diplomatic immunity would transgress the law", chief executive Kallie Kriel said.

She recently said Zimbabwe's ruling party should restore a constitutional provision stating that one of the party's vice presidents should be a woman, and has publicly challenged her husband to name a successor.

South African police have said they are on high alert to prevent Grace Mugabe leaving the country.

Zimbabwe has blocked flights by South Africa's government-owned airline amid tensions over allegations that Zimbabwe's first lady assaulted a young model in Johannesburg. "It was Robert Jr who pushed her out of the way as he ran away from his mother", a witness told the South African Times.

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The police minister "needs to do his job and ensure she is arrested and has her day in court to answer the serious charges against her".

It is not clear whether Grace Mugabe entered South Africa on a personal or diplomatic passport.

The wife of President Robert Mugabe is alleged to have hit Gabriella Engels on Sunday at a Johannesburg hotel.

A department spokesman declined to comment on the status of Mugabe's immunity bid on Thursday, but on Wednesday said the matter was under consideration.

According to Engels, on August 12, she was visiting the Mugabe sons at the Capital 20 West Hotel. The police had also claimed Tuesday that Mugabe had turned herself in before admitting that she, in fact, had not, and that she had been a no-show at a mandated court appearance.

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This is because President Robert Mugabe, now attending a SADC summit in Pretoria, travelled to South Africa on an AirZim chartered flight.

"She had an electric cord wrapped around her hand and she started attacking them".

In 2009, Grace was investigated by Hong Kong police for an alleged assault on a British photographer during a shopping trip to the city.

Zimbabwe's outspoken first lady has always been criticized for a fiery temper and lavish shopping expeditions, but her rising political profile has some asking whether she is maneuvering to succeed her husband.

For Debbie Engels, the only issue is getting Grace Mugabe to face the law. "It doesn't apply just because she's the wife of a president", said Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela.

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