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Open Letter to the President of the Republic of South Africa, the Minister of Police, the Minister of Justice, the Head of the National Prosecuting Authority, the Minister for Women, and the Minister of International Relations

23 August 2017


Good Day,

Honourable President, Mr Jacob Zuma
Honourable Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula
Honourable Minister, Mr Michael Masutha
Advocate Shaun Abrahams
Honourable Minister, Ms Susan Shabangu
Honourable Minister, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

We have lost the plot... dropped the ball... and sold out the ideals, especially in the matter of earnestly seeking the protection and to readily avail justice for South African citizens. I put to you the case of Gabriella Engels as one such classic example.

This particular incident has some clear principles which you have blatantly failed to uphold.


1. Equality before the law

Your government and the departments that are accountable to uphold the rights of our citizens has classically failed our country in this instance where a head of state’s spouse was not held accountable for her atrocious criminal and shameful act of attacking, injuring and scarring a citizen for life.  

(a) As a member state of the Organisation of African Unity, by your inaction in this matter, you have allowed South Africa to fail to uphold the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. You have not upheld and recognised the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in its Articles 1 to 5.

In particular, you have denied Gabriella Engels the clear rights of Article 3 and have elevated Grace Mugabe from such law of our continent, which states that,
‘Every individual shall be equal before the law

Every individual shall be entitled to equal protection of the law’.

In clear contravention of Article 4, you have ‘arbitrarily deprived’ Gabriella Engels of her right as an African who is ‘entitled to respect for her life and the integrity’, by means of you not addressing the wrong of ‘torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment’ committed against her by Grace Mugabe, as per Article 5.

(b) Primarily as well, you have not acted in accordance to the very laws of the Republic of South Africa which governs such matters where Section 9 of the Constitution of South Africa directs you as custodians and executors of such law to have acted without fear or favour. You have however after the assault case was revealed, chosen to grant a villain such as Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity in order that our country’s laws should not apply to her. In this regard you have lend no action to the prescription that 9. (1) Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.  Your inaction and failure to arrest and prosecute Grace Mugabe reveals that you have negated the principle of equality when it comes to justice. Your act to further grant her diplomatic immunity is a clear case that you further remained determined not to have the principle of equality before the law applied to Grace Mugabe and Gabriella Engels. In this you have wronged that justice not to be served on both the perpetrator and the victim.

(c) Even in terms of the common agreed Freedom Charter that was adopted by patriots of our country, you have opted not to apply the rule of equality before the law enshrined in the Freedom Charter, that ‘All Shall be Equal Before the Law’. This fundamental directive which even today underpins the hopes, aspirations and ideals of many South Africans, you have come to deny through your inaction to bring Grace Mugabe to answer for the wrong she did. You are failing our nation, even as it was portrayed in your indecision to arrest the ex-Deputy Minister Manana for the wrong he had committed to a female South African citizen.

2. Equality before the law and justice especially for women

All of this happened in contravention of what government espoused to have been a month wherein the nation was called to refocus on the problem of women abuse. In the heat of the struggle for women’s rights, respect, dignity and equality, you have dropped the ball right at the goal posts.

Everyone knows that the African and South African society is beset with many facets to the suffering of inequality which women endures. Your Department for Women’s paper called Gender Equality and the Call for an Inclusive Macroeconomic Framework says ‘For as long as there are women who are subjected to discrimination, exploitation or abuse… We shall not rest, and we dare not falter…’

While South Africa has that department specifically to focus on women and to address the inequality suffered by women, the most basic respect was not accorded to Gabriella Engels to restore and redress such inequality under which women in our country still burden. Even during a month whereby acts of violence against women were to be highlighted, addressed and reprimanded, NONE of your departments did anything to condemn, admonish and bring to justice the violent act of Grace Mugabe against a young and defenceless girl of our country.

In this matter you have failed women and failed to apply justice specifically for women’s rightful progress to attain equality.

 3. Equality before the law and justice all the more for those marginalised

In the context of racial disparities still being very prevalent in our country, it is unpalatable that especially the weak, poor, young and vulnerable have - us such in the case of Gabriella Engels - not been provided the equality of justice they so desperately deserve.

We cannot build a new nation and wish for progressive equality when the rich and those with status, even such as politically connected visitors to our country, are treated better or with discriminatory preference to those who are poor, presumably have less status or weaker networks of connected friends. It is NOT good for nation building and contradicts the establishment of it.

Already our nation is burdened with outbreaks of racial and class intolerance, protests and the various manifestations of mistrust whereby especially the poor and minority groupings such as the Coloured community experience massive socio-economic imbalances. Among Coloureds prevails a deep sense of a conscious structural and institutional marginalisation. This perceived oppression meted against the Coloured people in South Africa is at the core of the resentment and ongoing misgivings and mistrust between Black Africans and Coloured Africans. The perceptive allowance for the augmentation and growth of such does not bode well for our country, for inter-class and for inter-racial relationships. It is all the more reason for you as government to act swiftly and without favour in cases where such perceptions may grow to a disastrous level. In the case of Gabriella Engels, you have not only failed the poor, the marginalised, but you have failed in the nation building project and the continued need to correct racial attitudes and to foster class and racial harmony.

The above stated, it is incumbent on you as government and us as patriots to act.

In this regard, it is demanded from you as custodians of our nation’s future, that you:

1. Sanction Grace Mugabe and declare her a persona non-grata in South Africa;

  1. Sanction Grace Mugabe by withdrawing her children’s welcome and stay in South Africa;
  2. Refer this matter to be properly investigated and dealt with by the Organisation of African Unity;
  3. Refer this matter to the International Criminal Court on the basis of the Romans Statue’s Articles numbers 5.1 (d) ‘The crime of aggression’, read along with 5.2.
  4. Establishment a judicial commission headed by the Chief Justice, his honourable Mogoeng Mogoeng, to probe and sanction on negligence and accountability of the President, the Minister of Police, the Minister of Justice, the Head of the National Prosecuting Authority, the Minister for Women and the Minister of International Relations in all women abuse instances during the month of August and in particular the cases where women has been abused and ill-treated such as in the case of Gabriella Engels and Mandisa Duma. Since you had rightfully set such high standards for us as citizens to attain, of which you and your departments must of need be also be held responsible to have acted and worked positively to also have attained such standards, since you should have been leading by example.

The time is long up for all who remain resolute to being true patriots to allow the inconsequential dropping of the ball; to stand aloof while the plot is being lost; or to remain silent on the selling out from the ideals for which so many had died and for which so many still pin their hopes.

Let’s get our country and this great nation on track again.

Rev Ronald Dyers
Chairman: Kullid Foundation
082 492 9824

Mr Bevan Shelton
National Spokesperson
073 815 8061

www.kullid.org.za
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