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Grace Mugabe’s oldest son, Russell Goreraza, took his and his mother’s expensive Rolls-Royces out of Zimbabwe late last week and brought them to South Africa via Botswana.

The cost of the luxury vehicles bought by Grace and her son is estimated to be about R12million. Goreraza told police and customs officials at the Plumtree border post that the vehicles needed to be serviced in South Africa.

Goreraza is Grace’s son from her first marriage. She bought a R45m property in Sandhurst, Joburg, last year.

Her sons, Robert jr and Bellarmine Chatunga, usually live in that house, or they privately rent flats in Sandton when they are in Joburg. Robert jr, 25, is studying at the University of Johannesburg.

So far no official investigation into the source of Grace’s funds has begun, but this week school teachers and staff met at the schools she built and started near Harare, which many pupils have abandoned. The land on which the schools are built, taken from white farmers, is owned by the state.

It is not known where Grace sourced her cash for her many investments. There is no official first lady post in Zimbabwe so she did not earn anything in her role as Robert Mugabe’s wife, and her dairy does not make a profit, she claims, as she says she is still building up trade in yoghurt and ice cream.

The Mugabes now live off his pension - his salary and a bonus of about R60m when he quit office late last year, with a similar amount due to him at some unspecified time in the future.

Mugabe was in power for 37 years. Grace is his second wife, with whom he has three children.

She could face charges of assault if she should come to South Africa as she allegedly beat up a young Joburg woman who was sharing a drink with her sons at a flat in Sandton last August.

Independent Foreign Service