The woman who opened an assault case against Grace Mugabe says she wants justice not only for her but for others who also claim to have been victims of the Zimbabwean first lady in the past.
Gabriella Engels, 20, who was allegedly assaulted at a Sandton hotel on Sunday along with two other friends, says that no level of intimidation will make her drop the assault case against Mugabe.
Engels says she is well aware of the Zimbabwean first lady’s past and has cited it as the exact reason why she will not back down from seeing the charges met.
In 2009, a photographer claimed he was punched repeatedly by Mugabe in Hong Kong.
Engels says this can't be allowed any further.
"I just hope that the fact that I’m being strong enough to speak against her and that means I can be the voice for other people who she assaulted."
Engels says she has not received any intimidating calls or messages pushing her to drop the charges, yet she still fears leaving her house.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean social movement Tajamuka says it is appalled by the actions of its first lady, but not surprised.
The movement claims that Mugabe habitually assaults members of the public in Zimbabwe and faces no repercussions for her actions.
Tajamuka’s Diana Nyokadzino says they expect the South African judicial system to ensure that Gabriella Engels is vindicated.
Nyokadzino says Mugabe’s social standing in Zimbabwe should not be a reason for her to be treated differently, let alone in a different country.
“Because she’s the first lady, it doesn’t mean that she’s supposed to get away with just about everything. Assault on people, assault on young people, assault on Zimbabweans, so she has to get arrested.
“Maybe this time around, she’s done it in South Africa to a foreign person, maybe she will get arrested because we have failed to do that in our own country.”
While speculation around Mugabe having left the country became prominent on Tuesday, the police maintained that they were negotiating for her to hand herself over.