Grace Mugabe faces South Africa arrest warrant

Grace Mugabe looks on during a national church interface rally in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 5, 2017. /FILE
Grace Mugabe looks on during a national church interface rally in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 5, 2017. /FILE

South African prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Zimbabwe's ex-first lady, Grace Mugabe, for allegedly assaulting a model in 2017, police say.

The move comes after a court annulled her diplomatic immunity in July.

South Africa's government was criticised for letting Mrs Mugabe leave the country after the alleged assault.

Gabriella Engels accused Mrs Mugabe of beating the "hell out of me" with an electric extension cord in a hotel room in Johannesburg.

Mrs Mugabe said at the time that she had acted in self-defence after the "intoxicated and unhinged" model attacked her in the room where her two sons lived.

Reuters quoted police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo as saying on Wednesday: "I can confirm that a warrant for the arrest of Grace Mugabe was issued last Thursday."

It is unclear why the reporting of the warrant was delayed and there has been no response yet from Mrs Mugabe or Zimbabwean authorities.

Lobby group AfriForum, which has been pursuing the case, welcomed the arrest warrant.

"It seems that justice is going to take place and we are looking forward to this matter going forward," South Africa's Times Live website quoted AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel as saying.

It is unclear whether South Africa will push for Mrs Mugabe's extradition.

The Mugabe family owns properties in South Africa.

The alleged assault took place about three months before the military takeover in Zimbabwe, which saw Robert Mugabe resign as president after 37 years in power.