Zimbabwe first lady Grace Mugabe has responded to accusations that she assaulted a South African model with a counter-claim that the model assaulted her.
In her deposition, taken on August 17 which Reuters says it has seen, the Zimbabwe first lady dismissed South African Gabriella Engels’s version of events as “malicious allegations”.
Mugabe, 52, claims to have been attacked after attempting to help her sons.
She apparently went to the hotel to see them as she was worried about them.
“Upon her arrival, Ms Engels, who was intoxicated and unhinged, attacked Dr Grace Mugabe with a knife after she was asked to leave the hotel,” the statement said.
The statement continued, saying that security “was left with no other option but to remove Ms Engels from the hotel suite”.
In her deposition, Mugabe alleges that Engels, 20, had been involved in a fight with other women at Johannesburg nightclub Taboo the night before, and suggested that was where she incurred her injuries.
Mugabe’s version has been strongly denied by Engels through civil society group Afriforum, who is representing her.
“Gabriella never attacked Grace Mugabe in any way and she did not participate in the fight at Taboo,” Afriforum said.
The group further denounced Mugabe’s version as a desperate attempt to “escape responsibility for her own violent behaviour by using lies to falsely portray the victim in this case as the perpetrator”.
Mugabe was granted diplomatic immunity by the South African government, but that is being challenged by both Engels and the country’s official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.