Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe has reportedly denied that she assaulted a young South African model Gabriella Engels, 20, after she allegedly found her with one of her two sons Bellarmine Chatunga at a hotel in Sandon last month.
According to a statement dated August 17 and seen by Reuters, Grace dismissed Engels’ version of events as “malicious allegations” and maintained that she was attacked after “going to help her sons”.
The first lady portrayed herself as the victim after intervening on behalf of her sons Chatunga and Robert jnr who were “in trouble with a drunken young woman”.
“She was worried about them (sons) and went to see them at their hotel suite,” read the statement.
“Upon her arrival, Ms Engels, who was intoxicated and unhinged, attacked Dr Grace Mugabe with a knife after she was asked to leave the hotel.”
Grace made headlines after she allegedly assaulted Engels on August 13 using an extension cord while her bodyguards looked on.
Engels claimed that Grace burst into the room where she was waiting with two friends to meet Chatunga and started assaulting her with an electric cable.
Photos taken by her mother soon after the incident showed a gash of Engels’ forehead and head. She also had bruises on her thighs, the report said.
But the statement suggested that Engels’ injuries were as a result of a fight she had at a nightclub the previous night.
South Africa granted Grace diplomatic immunity, allowing her to evade immediate prosecution for assault, although Engels and Afriforum have challenged that decision, saying the first lady was not in South Africa on official business.