Zimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe, returned to her homeland on Tuesday from South Africa after failing to turn herself in to South African police to face charges of assaulting a woman in Johannesburg.
“Yes, she is back in the country. We don’t know where this issue of assault charges is coming from,” said a senior Zimbabwean government official, who declined to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Hours ahead of her return, the South African police said they were negotiating for her to hand herself over.
According to an earlier statement by South Africa’s police minister Fikile Mbalula, Grace Mugabe handed herself over to the police on Tuesday and will be charged with assault.
Yes, she is back in the country. We don't know where this issue of assault charges is coming from.
“She is not under arrest because she cooperated and handed herself over to the police. But a case has been opened,” the minister said without further details.
There is no official statement from the Zimbabwean authorities since the news of the alleged assault broke on Monday.
The 20-year-old victim of the alleged assault, Gabriella Engels, posted a picture of her injuries on Twitter on Monday evening saying she was beat up with her two friends in the hotel room after one of Mugabe’s sons ran away and the other was taken out of the room.
“Rob jnr was put out of the hotel room and Bellermine ran away. My two friends and I were beat up in a room with 10+ men leaving her to do it,” she tweeted with references to Mrs Mugabe’s bodyguards.
Rob jnr was put out of the hotel room and Bellermine ran away.— Gah-bee (@DaNamesGaby) August 14, 2017
My two friends and I were beat up in a room with 10+ men leaving her to do it https://t.co/FXdYafh3pm
“She split my head open in 3 places. With an extension cord and used the plug to hit me,” she explained with a picture showing a deep cut on her forehead.
I have to more injuries at the back of my head pic.twitter.com/fz3olUz9tN— Gah-bee (@DaNamesGaby) August 14, 2017
While Gabriella was tweeting the version of her story, Mugabe’s party Zanu-PF posted her picture saying she attacked the first lady.
“We can confirm if this is one of the perpetrators who attacked comrade Grace Mugabe. Be careful comrades,” they tweeted.
We can confirm if this is one of the perpetrators who attacked comrade Grace Mugabe. Be careful comrades. pic.twitter.com/3VCyfsY8vB— ZANU PF (@zanu_pf) August 14, 2017
Mugabe’s sons, Robert Peter Mugabe Jr and Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe are well-known for throwing parties and living in luxury apartments.
They were thrown out of their apartment in Dubai and also evicted from a Johannesburg apartment for several disturbances including an alleged brawl.
They study at the University of Johannesburg.