Grace Mugabe immunity: SA between ‘rock & hard place’

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was 'honest' in her approach of the Grace Mugabe immunity saga, University of Johannesburg’s African Diplomacy chair Professor Christopher Landsberg says.

Mugabe was facing criminal charges after she allegedly attacked 20-year-old Gabriella Engles with an electric cord at a Sandton hotel last week Sunday.

She was on Sunday granted diplomatic immunity by the South African government and left the country.

Landsberg says the concept of derivative immunity was used in the Mugabe saga.

Derivative immunity, in other words immunity derived from the fact that the spouse of a head of state joins, kicks in immediately. This was the strategy.

Professor Christopher Landsberg, UJ African Diplomacy chair

What I did not anticipate or say was that she would then take the opportunity to get out of the country.

Professor Christopher Landsberg, UJ African Diplomacy chair

Landsberg says the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir case is very different to the Grace Mugabe matter.

The two have nothing to do with each other because Zimbabwe is not a part of the Rome Statute, let’s be clear about that.

Professor Christopher Landsberg, UJ African Diplomacy chair

I have to congratulate the minister for an honest letter that she released yesterday, where she said we were faced with a dilemma.

Professor Christopher Landsberg, UJ African Diplomacy chair

Do we get this first lady to stay in the country and face our law and face this unbelievable tonne of diplomatic bricks that will come our way and the ramifications of breaking ties with Zimbabwe.

Professor Christopher Landsberg, UJ African Diplomacy chair

They [the SA government] were caught between a rock and a hard place and in the end, they went for a political decision.

Professor Christopher Landsberg, UJ African Diplomacy chair

Listen to the full audio here:

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