A South African model allegedly attacked by Grace Mugabe has challenged the government’s decision to grant her diplomatic immunity.
Zimbabwe’s first lady, the wife of President Robert Mugabe, was accused of attacking Gabriella Engels with an electrical extension cord at a hotel in Johannesburg where the couple’s two sons were staying.
Ms Engels, 20, suffered cuts on her head and forehead and filed an assault charge against Mrs Mugabe.
At the weekend, South Africa’s foreign affairs ministry said it had granted Mrs Mugabe, 52, immunity allowing her to leave the country.
The model and civil rights group AfriForum has filed an injunction asking the court to annul that decision.
Willie Spies, a lawyer for AfriForum, said: “The (foreign affairs) minister misinterpreted the law. She applied the wrong principles.”
Court documents state Ms Engels and the rights group are seeking an order to set aside minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane’s decision “recognising the immunities and privileges” of Grace Mugabe.
They also want the court to declare that the diplomatic immunity decision “does not confer immunity from prosecution”.
A hearing into the case will begin on 19 September, Mr Spies said.
Mrs Mugabe should have reported to the police to make a statement about the alleged assault, but failed to do so.
Police minister Fikile Mbalula triggered a “red alert” to border police to prevent her leaving the country.
But Mrs Mugabe flew out of South Africa on a pre-dawn flight on Sunday aboard a presidential jet.
Hours later, the foreign ministry announced it had granted her immunity.
On Wednesday, South African MPs heckled Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as he answered a question on the alleged assault.
He said the decision to grant immunity was taken in line with “internationally-recognised immunity regulations”, but admitted it was “the first time we have utilised this type of convention”.