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The fact that Grace Mugabe received diplomatic immunity “is proof that our government’s political ties are more important than their own citizens”, says Debbie Engels, the mother of 20-year-old Gabrielle, who was allegedly assaulted by the Zimbabwean first lady.

The government announced in an extraordinary Government Gazette on Sunday that she had been granted diplomatic immunity. Gabriella, a Johannesburg model, was flabbergasted when she heard the news, Netwerk24 reported.

“I didn’t know,” she said, after letting out a long sigh. “I don’t want to comment any further.”

Debbie said: “I saw [it] on the news this morning when I got up.

“I’m upset, but I believe that Mugabe’s day will come.”

Mugabe is said to have assaulted Gabriella in the Capital 20 West Hotel in Sandton with an electric extension cord last Sunday.

According to Debbie, her daughter was introduced to Mugabe’s son, Bellarmine Chatunga, 20, on Saturday evening.

She doesn’t know Robert Jnr, 25, at all.

She denied claims that Gabrielle had been involved in a fight at a Sandton nightclub – Taboo – hours before the alleged altercation with Grace Mugabe.

“A friend of hers had [Saturday evening] had a fight with one of the Mugabe brothers’ girlfriends.”

Gabriella and her friend on Sunday evening went to visit one of Bellarmine’s friends in the hotel.

The Mugabe brothers were in the room next door. Gabriella and her friend were not with the Mugabes, but with their friend, Debbie said.

“When Gaby-and-them heard that the girl with whom her friend had had a fight was in the room next door, they said they weren’t staying.

“Bellarmine gave them the assurance that the girl wouldn’t come into their room and bother them. He then went back to his room.

A man then came and told Gabriella and her friend “to sit still”, after which Grace is said to have stormed in with the extension cord, Debbie said. She said the Mugabe brothers weren’t there at the time of the incident.

She did not want to elaborate.

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