Gabriella Engels, 20, with her mother Debbie at the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday. (Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA)

The North Gauteng High Court reserved  judgement on the application brought by model Gabriella Engels and AfriForum to serve Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe with court papers.

AfriForum legal representative,  Eteinne Lubaschagne asked Judge Harshila Koovertjie to authorise it to serve notice of the application on Mugabe at the office of the president of Zimbabwe in Harare.

The application comes after Zimbabwe's first lady allegedly assaulted Engels in August and was granted diplomatic immunity by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

The lobby group, Afriforum and Engels want the diplomatic immunity afforded to Mugabe set aside.

Lubaschagne said all they want at this stage, was for Mugabe to know about the pending review application.

He said the best thing was to serve the application on the office of the Zimbabwean president in Harare, as Grace Mugabe is married to the president, and is, therefore, a high profile person in that country. In doing it this way, it could be assured that she did receive the notice, he said.

The Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria  also approached the court and applied to intervene in the application to serve notice of the review proceedings on Mugabe. They asked the court to turn down AfriForum’s application.

Simba Chitando  for the embassy of Zimbabwe, said AfriForum did not follow the legal rules pertaining to serving a notice on a person in a foreign country. One of the rules made it clear that applicants had to first establish where a party (Mugabe in this case) lived or worked before they applied to serve a notice.

Chitando argued that the president's wife did not live or work at the presidency in Harare.

The end goal of Engels and AfriForum is for Mugabe to stand trial here on a charge of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm following an incident on August 13, when she allegedly assaulted the 20-year-old.

Engels claims Mugabe had burst into the Sandton hotel room where she was at the time and that she was hit on the forehead by Mugabe with an electric cord with a plug at the end. She had laid criminal charges against Mugabe, but the first lady never appeared in court as she had received diplomatic immunity. 

- African News Agency (ANA)