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South African cabinet mum on diplomatic immunity for Grace Mugabe

By Jan Gerber, News24

Cape Town – Cabinet did not discuss if Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe is entitled to diplomatic immunity following her alleged assault of a young woman, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said on Thursday.

South African Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo
South African Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo

“We did not speak about that,” she said, following Cabinet’s regular meeting.

It was a matter for the police and the department of international relations and co-operation.

While Cabinet did discuss gender-based violence, a matter it took “very seriously”, it did not discuss individual cases.

Zimbabwe’s first lady has invoked diplomatic immunity after she allegedly used an extension cord to beat model, Gabriella Engels, 20, at the Capital 20 West Hotel in Johannesburg on Sunday evening. Engels was visiting Mugabe’s two sons, Robert and Chatunga.

Cabinet did however mention Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana. He admitted to beating two young women at the Cubana nightclub in Fourways, Johannesburg, last weekend. He is facing two charges of assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm.

President Jacob Zuma has been criticised for not firing Manana.

“Cabinet is disappointed by the recent incidence involving its colleague, Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana,” it said in a statement.

It appealed for his case to be allowed to make its way through the courts, without interference, as nobody was above the law.

Dlodlo said government was taking cases of gender-based violence seriously.

Cabinet condemned the assault of a schoolgirl in KwaZulu-Natal, allegedly by a 19-year-old boy, Lindokuhle Dube, and the murder of Mpumalanga school teacher, Kate Chiloane.

“The harms and dangers of patriarchy which result in the violence against women and children should be fought by all of us,” Cabinet said in its statement.

Cabinet also condemned recent incidents of racism.

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