JOHANNESBURG – SOME South Africans believe model Gabriella Engels should have accepted undisclosed out-of-court settlement cash than pursuing the prosecution of former Zimbabwe first lady Grace Mugabe.
AfriForum is representing the model in this pursuit, which culminated in an arrest warrant against Mrs Mugabe.
The former first lady is accused of assaulting and injuring Engels.
A woman in Ennerdale, south of Johannesburg, who requested anonymity said: “If I were Gabriella, I could have accepted this windfall fortune that only knocks only once in life. As things stand right now, I can’t see her getting any cent from Mrs Grace Mugabe.”
Others were of the opinion the AfriForum were taken by surprise when political landscape in Zimbabwe took centre stage in November 2017 following military take over that culminated in the new administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“The AfriForum did not see this coming (new change in Zimbabwe) hence they were taken by surprise. I believe their motive to press charges was to embarrass former president Robert Mugabe, whose government forcibly took away land from white people in the early 2000,” a Lenasia based man told CAJ News.
Another respondent said Afriforum had been left with an egg in the face following the election of a new administration in Zimbabwe.
“Sadly, Afriforum have deceived the poor young lady, who could have received a life changing offer believed to be in the tune of $1 million,” an Eldorado Park man said.
An elderly man from Lenasia south said Engels stood to lose as the courts might fine Mrs Mugabe lower than what the former first lady is alleged to have put on the table to let the court case go.
“Though I don’t have details of the amount put on the table by Mrs Mugabe, but the truth is that such assault penalties cannot go beyond R100 000. Gabriella missed a fortune that knocked once at her doorstep,” the Lenasia south man said.
Unconfirmed reports claim the offer ran to the tune of $1 million (about R14.6 million)
Zimbabwe’s deputy minister of information, Energy Mutodi, last week said his country would not extradite Mr Mugabe to South Africa to face trial.
“We will not smile on any attempt to embarrass, ill-treat or diminish the image of former President Robert Mugabe or his immediate family members,” he said.
In August 2017, Engels’ attorney Advocate Gerrie Nel confirmed at the time Mrs. Mugabe’s attempt for an out of court settlement has been rejected.
Nel was quoted in the media as saying her client Engels rejected the offer after she was approached by a third party insisting she was seeking justice.
“The victim was approached with an offer to pay an amount of money so that the matter would be settled but I’m really impressed with the victim. The victim and the family said they are not interested in the money, they are interested in justice and they rejected the offer out of hand,” Nel was quoted as saying.
– CAJ News