Minority Rights Organization AfriForum has on August 17 claimed that Grace Mugabe`s victim of assault was allegedly offered cash to drop the charges against the Zimbabwean first lady.

The money was offered to the victim Grabriella Engels, 20 by the third party, according to advocate Gerrie Nel.

Engels sustained an injury on the forehead

However, the family of Engels who was allegedly assaulted by Grace Mugabe was not interested in the money but only in justice, said Nel.

The family were apparently offered a settlement to drop the charges. Instead, they opted for justice.

“I was very impressed when the family said they are not interested in a settlement, they are interested in justice,” Nel said at the media briefing at the AfriForum building in Centurion in support of Engels.

Nel was unable to clarify the amount of money offered or by whom.

Engels, a full-time model, laid criminal charges against Mugabe on Monday after the 52-year-old allegedly assaulted her in a Sandton Hotel on Sunday.

Nel, who launched a private prosecuting authority funded by AfriForum after leaving the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in January, announced this morning that the organisation would represent and assist Engels during Mugabe’s prosecution.

Nel said he was concerned about the possibility of political interference during her prosecution.

Afriforum “is willing to fight this matter to the highest court”, he said.

Engels also attended the briefing, but AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said she would not be addressing the media.

She was seen with a large plaster on her forehead, where Mugabe allegedly hit her with an electric plug.

South Africa`s police Minister Fikile Mbalula previously said Mugabe was expected to appear in court on Tuesday, but on Wednesday the police ministry said she never handed herself over to police.

“The suspect remains in South Africa,” the police ministry said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. Mugabe invoked diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution, the ministry said, but according to South African legislation Mugabe can be granted immunity only if her visit to South Africa was gazetted in advance by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.

The police ministry said Grace Mugabe was expected to attend a Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting under way in Pretoria, as well as attend to “personal matters”.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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