Former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe. File picture: Aaron Ufumeli/EPA

PRETORIA - The South African Police Service (SAPS) on Wednesday confirmed that a warrant of arrest has been issued for Grace Mugabe - Zimbabwe's former first lady.

"It is true, we issued the warrant of arrest last week," national SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo told African News Agency in Pretoria.

"In addition to that, we have initiated processes with Interpol. There's is not much I can tell you at this stage regarding the Interpol process."

Mugabe allegedly assaulted model Gabriella Engels at a South African hotel in August last year, but has claimed that she acted in self-defence.

In October, lobby group AfriForum, which represents Engels said one of the sons of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe had allegedly been pressurising Engels to drop the charges against his mother.

In July, the South Gauteng High Court declared the South African government's decision to grant Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity unconstitutional, and set it aside.

The attack allegedly took place at Sandton's plush, The Capital 20 West hotel.

On social media, Engels posted pictures of a gash on her forehead, allegedly sustained when Mugabe hit her with an electric extension cord.

Mugabe was accompanied by about 10 bodyguards and hotel security guards and was looking for her sons, Robert jnr, 25, and Chatunga Bellarmine, 21.

A waitress reportedly also suffered a miscarriage after she was pushed by Robert Mugabe Jnr. as he fled his mother who allegedly went on a violent attack at the Sandton hotel.

At the time, Robert Mugabe was still president of Zimbabwe, and his wife was allowed to leave South Africa without being prosecuted. 

Afriforum and the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA) challenged the government's decision in court. 

In May, the department of international relations and cooperation had argued in court that it did not grant Mugabe diplomatic immunity, but rather recognised it was applicable in terms of international law.

Unconvinced, Judge Bashier Valley also ruled that the government department should pay the costs of the case.

African News Agency (ANA)