Decision on Diplomatic Immunity relating to an alleged assault case in Sandton
20 August 2017
On Wednesday, 16 August 2017, the Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe invoked immunities of Dr Grace Mugabe in relation to the alleged case of assault widely reported in the media.
The Minister considered the communication from the Embassy in accordance with the discretion granted to her by section 7(2) of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act.
According to Section 7 (2) of the Act: "The Minister may in any particular case if it is not expedient to enter into an agreement as contemplated in subsection (1) and if the conferment of immunities and privileges is in the interest of the Republic, confer such immunities and privileges on a person or organisation as may be specified by notice in the Gazette."
After careful consideration of all the relevant factors, including the following:
- the need to uphold the rule of law, ensure fair administration of justice and uphold the rights of the complainant;
- the imperative to maintain good inter-governmental relations within the SADC region, and in particular between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe;
- the fact that the matter coincides with South Africa's hosting of the 37th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government;
- legal considerations, including derivative immunity of spouses of Heads of State,
the Minister has made the determination that the conferring of diplomatic immunity is warranted in this particular instance.
The Department wishes to convey the message that the Minister has agonised over this matter and the decision was not an easy one to make.
Statement issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 20 August 2017