Grace Mugabe (File photo)

Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Grace Mugabe, has reportedly landed back in her country after failing to hand herself over to the police in South Africa for allegedly assaulting a 20-year-old model at a Sandton, Johannesburg hotel.

Zimbabwe government sources confirmed to Reuters that she had returned home.

“Yes, she is back in the country. We don’t know where this issue of assault charges is coming from,” said a senior government official, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

A second official also confirmed that Grace Mugabe had returned, saying “she is around now” and accused the media of a plot to tarnish the first family’s name.

The Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, claims that the First Lady is well known for her short temper and says that her conduct is a disgrace and she must face the law.

It is alleged that Mugabe attacked the model, Gabriella Engels, with an extension cable and plug on Sunday when she found Engels with her two sons in a room at the hotel. Engels suffered a head injury.

Engels suffered a head injury

“We were chilling in a hotel room, and (the sons) were in the room next door. She came in and started hitting us,” Engels, who reported the assault at the Morningside Police Station, said.

Whereabouts unknown

But on Tuesday there was confusion over Mugabe’s whereabouts and whether or not the authorities would take action against her. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula told the media that the fact that she was a first lady with diplomatic immunity would be taken into consideration in handling the matter.

But analysts were quick to point out that Mugabe was not in South Africa on official business, as she had come into the country to receive medical treatment for an injury she sustained in Zimbabwe.

Mbalula announced that she had handed herself over to the police but later said he assumed she would do so, when it turned out that she did not.

National Police Spokesperson Vish Naidoo confirmed that there were negotiations that required the first lady to hand herself over to the authorities but would not verify whether she was still in the country or not.

“I think I’ve answered all your questions….If there is a further update to provide you, we would most certainly do that,” Naidoo told newsmen when asked whether she was still in the country.

Authorities say the investigation into the matter continues.


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