Legal eagles in the case in which Gabriella Engels and AfriForum seek to have the immunity granted to Grace Mugabe set aside. Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA

Pretoria - The North Gauteng High Court on Friday ordered that the Zimbabwean embassy should file an affidavit in seven days stating whether or not they are representing Grace Mugabe, who is accused of assaulting a 20-year-old South African model.

Acting Judge Harshila Koovertjie made the order in a matter in which Gabriella Engels and Afriforum are asking the court to set aside Mugabe's diplomatic immunity from prosecution.
Afriform has also been given seven days to respond to an affidavit by the Zimbabwean embassy.

Then the matter will be argued again in the opposed motion court.

In a suprising turn of events, the Zimbabwean embassy decided to withdraw from the matter citing that their legal representative had received threats. 

"The Zimbabwean embassy regardless of the outcome of the proceedings shall no longer participate in these hearings," said Advocate Simba Chitando.

Legal representative for the Zimbabwean Embassy Advocate Simba Chitando explaining that they are withdrawing from the matter. Vide0: Brenda Masislela/ANA

Chitando said he received instructions from the Consul General of the Zimbabwean embassy and read out a message from his phone.
"I have read the memorandum by Adv Chitando our counsel of record and I have personally seen various threats made against him while the representing the Zimbabwean Embassy."

"The conduct of various individuals has made the Zimbabwean embarrassing and it's future involvement in this matter undesirable," Chitando read.

AfriForum legal representative, Willie Spies said they were caught off guard on September 19 when the Zimbabwean embassy came to court to oppose an application that in normal course is not an opposed application.

Spies said it was clear the embassy was using delaying tactics and their purpose was to fustrate the court's process and ensure that justice is delayed.

"Fortunately, they now have withdrawn, which makes the whole process further easier," he said.

Spies said the order has not been granted yet and no one got what they wanted, instead the matter was postponed for hearing on opposed motion roll.

Zimbabwe's first lady allegedly assaulted Engels in August and was granted diplomatic immunity by Minister of International relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

The 20-year-old model, who is acquainted to Mugabe's sons, said their mother hit her on the forehead with an electric cord which had a plug at the end. 

Engles laid criminal charges against Mugabe, but the she failed to show up and instead she secured immunity from prosecution.

Mugabe, 52, denies the allegations that she attacked Engels. Instead, the Zimbabwe Fist Lady claims Engels tried to attack her with a knife.

African News Agency