SOUTH AFRICA

“AN ERROR OF LAW” ON GRACE’S DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY

The South African government will not appeal a South Gauteng High Court judgment that ruled the decision to grant former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity was “an error of law”.

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“We have studied the judgment and came to the conclusion that we will not appeal,” Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu said at a briefing on international affairs on Thursday.

On July 30, Acting Judge Bashier Vally said the error was “fundamental and fatal”.

He ruled that the decision by the former minister of international relations and cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane must be reviewed and set aside.

Mugabe was accused of using an electrical extension cord to assault Gabriella Engels, a Johannesburg-based model, in August last year.

Read more: It would be ‘unwise’ for Grace Mugabe to visit SA again, say legal experts

The former first lady secretly fled the country and Nkoana-Mashabane later granted her immunity.

Lobby group AfriForum and the DA challenged Nkoana-Mashabane’s decision in court.

Vally also found that Mugabe was not immune to the jurisdiction of the South African courts and the minister’s decision to “recognise” or “confer” immunity upon her was unconstitutional and unlawful.

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