After she had apparently committed to appear in court today for allegedly assaulting a young woman, reports have confirmed that Zimbabwean first lady, Grace Mugabe, is now back in Harare.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula however had earlier confirmed that Ms Mugabe had handed herself over to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and was to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s court at 13h00 today.
Mbalula clearly missed something as he is quoted as saying that she was ‘not under arrest, because she cooperated and handed herself over to the police. That is cooperation, more than any necessity to go and arrest a person.’
The DA will call for an inquiry into how Grace Mugabe was able to leave the country when she was clearly an identified suspect in a criminal charge. We especially need clarity on whether she had VIP protection assigned to her and if so, whether the SAPS therefore took her to her plane.
Whether or not she committed to handing herself over, the SAPS should have done their job and arrested her, as they would any other ordinary person accused of the same crime. An arrest is meant to ensure the accused appears in court. Punishment is not the intention.
This only leaves us with the startling possibility that Minister Mbalula may have aided and abetted Ms Mugabe’s escape back to her mansion in Zimbabwe – a tactic to which the ANC government is no stranger as they have pulled this stunt before by letting ICC-indicted Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir escape our country.
It was grossly irresponsible for the SAPS not to arrest the Zimbabwean first lady who can easily access private air travel, thus posing a flight risk. SAPS should have reasonably known that she was never going to hang around to show up in court.
The SAPS are clearly in a shoddy and sorry state, made worse by their having to follow the lead of Mbalula, a Police Minister who knows more about making himself trend on Twitter rather than improving police operations and investigations in order to reverse the rising and ongoing trends of serious, organised and violent crimes.
Zakhele Mbhele MP
DA Shadow Minister of Police