HARARE – The First Family is working towards bringing back home — for good — Robert Junior and Chatunga Bellarmine, who are currently based in neighbouring South Africa, the Daily News can exclusively report.
President Robert Mugabe’s sons relocated to Johannesburg, the commercial capital city of South Africa, at the beginning of the year after running into discipline problems involving brawls and abuse of banned substances.
The older Robert Junior was previously based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates where the Mugabes frequented in a futile bid to restrain him.
Chatunga Bellarmine had been staying in Zimbabwe.
Given the wave of crime in South Africa, and the negative attention they have courted, the first family now fear for Chatunga and Robert Jnr’s safety such that they are considering moving them back to Zimbabwe.
Mugabe has confided in his inner circle that the boys’ wayward behaviour was causing him sleepless nights, adding that he feared their security risk was high.
The rebellious children lead a wild partying lifestyle, which badly exposes them to South Africa’s rampant crime society.
Mugabe’s concerns come amid an incident, which has attracted global attention whereby First Lady Grace Mugabe reportedly violently assaulted a 20-year-old woman, Gabriella Engels, whom she found in a hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg in the company of her volatile sons.
The boys have apparently been staying at the hotel since last month after they were evicted from a luxurious apartment Sandton — home to South Africa’s wealthiest people — following a violent brawl that left one security officer at the place severely injured.
Grace has since landed herself in trouble with the law in South Africa, where she is battling to avoid prosecution for assault and has since invoked diplomatic immunity which, however, South African authorities are fiercely contesting.
The incident could trigger a diplomatic stand-off between Harare and Pretoria.
Impeccable sources told the Daily News yesterday that Mugabe told his inner circle that he was travelling to Pretoria to attend the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) heads of State summit, two days ahead of schedule, to try and secure his wife’s freedom as well as make arrangements to bring back to Zimbabwe his sons.
Mugabe flew to Pretoria late on Wednesday afternoon despite the fact that the summit only kicks off today.
Grace had hurried to the Rainbow Nation to follow up on the boys after contact with them was lost between Thursday and Friday last week, heightening security fears.
This was contrary to the earlier statement which Mugabe gave at a rally in Gwanda where he claimed Grace had travelled to that country to seek medical attention for her ankle which she claims was caused in a freak accident at the Harare International Airport last month.
“He expressed deep concern over the behaviour of the boys. He told us that he was going there ahead of the Sadc summit schedule to attend to the incident involving the first lady as well as to arrange for the boys’ repatriation,” said a Cabinet minister who cannot be named.
“It is clear that he is worried about their safety given the high crime rate in that country,” the minister added.