Publication: Sapa Issued: Pretoria Date: 2004-10-29 Reporter: Sapa

Grandson of Namibian Envoy Held in Pta






Date 2004-10-29




The grandson of a Namibian diplomat based in Pretoria was arrested on Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said his information was that Zondi Ashipembe, 20, had been arrested by police.

"We have been told that he has been arrested and the legal processes of the country will now take its course," Mamoepa said.

Ashipembe was arrested by police last week after an alleged attack on former NPA prosecutor, advocate Gerda Ferreira, in her townhouse in Pretoria.

Ferreira's residence is close to that of Ashipembe, grandson of Maria Amathila, the third secretary at the Namibian High Commission.

He was released from custody as he had diplomatic immunity.

Namibia was then asked to waive his immunity. Windhoek agreed on Friday, clearing the way for his arrest.

Ashipembe would face charges of housebreaking with the intent to rob, aggravated robbery and two charges of attempted rape.

Ashipembe briefly appeared in the Pretoria Regional Court prior to his release under diplomatic immunity on similar charges.

It was alleged at the time he had allegedly broken into Ferreira's home, had tied her up, had threatened her with a knife and tried to rape her twice.

She later escaped through a window and called for help.

During a police search of Ashipembe's nearby townhouse, a camera belonging to Ferreira was allegedly among the goods seized.

Police are investigating the possibility that he previously burgled her home.

Ferreira played a key role in bringing corruption charges against businessman Schabir Shaik, who is currently standing trial in Durban on corruption charges.

With aknowledgement to Sapa.