Former public protector advocate Thuli Madonsela says Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe should have issued an apology on behalf of his wife, Grace, for allegedly assaulting South African woman Gabrielle Engels.
“No amount of provocation entitles you to harm a person. “[It] was appalling for a neighbour to come and assault a [South African] citizen,” Madonsela said.
Madonsela was speaking on the sidelines of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies national conference in Sandton on Sunday.
“Citizens should know that they would be protected regardless of who harms them. We need our leaders to stand up for that.”
Mugabe is said to have attacked Engels with an extension cord at a Sandton hotel on August 13.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation confirmed that minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane granted Mugabe diplomatic immunity on Saturday night.
On Friday, the police’s Vish Naidoo told Netwerk24 that police had provisionally halted investigations into the matter after a note verbale was received, which indicated that the suspect in the case had applied for diplomatic immunity.
Afriforum said on Sunday that it would approach the courts to contest the granting of diplomatic immunity.
“What we will carry on with is a review application [of the decision] to grant her immunity,” said Afriforum’s legal representative Willie Spies.
“We believe that it is not a correct decision,” he said, adding that his organisation believes that this was in contravention of South Africa’s laws, as well as the rights of the victim to see justice.
Afriforum was also keen to “eventually carry on with a private prosecution”.
On state capture
Mandonsela also touched on the state capture report and President Jacob Zuma.
She said nine months after the report was released, there is still no commission of enquiry.
“We are still sitting here nine months down the line and no commission of enquiry is taking place.”
She said once alerted of wrong-doing, Zuma should have looked into the state capture issue.
“If it is true that there is state capture… then by the time we deal with [the] state capture – the rot would have poisoned the greater part of our state tree.
“Corruption is [a] crime. It is to be investigated immediately.”