The Latest: Lawyers for South Africa model consider court
By The Associated Press
Aug. 17, 2017
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The Latest on the assault allegation against Zimbabwe first lady Grace Mugabe (all times local):
A group assisting the young model who claims she was assaulted by Zimbabwe's first lady in South Africa says it would consider an urgent application to the high court if Grace Mugabe is granted diplomatic immunity.
AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel tells reporters that there is the "possibility of political interference" in the case. He says diplomatic immunity can't be used to "escape prosecution from grave crimes."
Zimbabwe's government has requested diplomatic immunity for the first lady, who remains in South Africa.
AfriForum, an organization that primarily represents the rights of South Africa's white Afrikaner minority, is assisting the young woman in the case.
Its representatives say "there has been an offer of financial compensation" but no amount was mentioned.
South Africa's police minister says a "red alert" has been issued to prevent Zimbabwe first lady Grace Mugabe from leaving the country before she settles the accusation that she assaulted a young model.
The African News Agency reports that Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula said that all borders have been notified not to permit Mugabe from leaving the country until the matter is resolved.
South African authorities are debating whether to grant Mugabe diplomatic immunity which Zimbabwe's government has requested.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has arrived in South Africa as his wife is accused of assaulting a young model.
Mugabe flew into Pretoria with his entourage late Wednesday night, apparently to help his wife with the ongoing scandal. The Zimbabwean president arrived early for a regional summit of southern African nations.
The model who accuses Zimbabwe's first lady of assault has been offered help by a prominent lawyer who secured the murder conviction of Oscar Pistorius.
Gerrie Nel, a former state prosecutor who now works as a private prosecutor for AfriForum, an organization that primarily represents the rights of South Africa's white Afrikaner minority, said he will offer legal help to Gabriella Engels, the 20-year-old woman who filed a complaint of assault against Grace Mugabe.