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BLADE RUNNER BID

Oscar Pistorius faces parole board, and Reeva Steenkamp’s mother – this is what it decided

Oscar Pistorius faces parole board, and Reeva Steenkamp’s mother – this is what it decided
Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on 11 September 2014. (Photo: Gallo Images / Independent / Phill Magakoe)

Oscar Pistorius, the former Paralympic sprinter convicted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, asked a parole board on Friday to release him from jail. Pistorius, who has been behind bars for nearly seven years, became eligible for parole after serving half of his 13-year sentence.

The double-amputee athlete, Oscar Pistorius who was seeking an early release from prison, 10 years after murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was denied parole on Friday.

The parole board will consider him again for parole in August 2024, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said on Friday afternoon.

“The reason provided is that the inmate did not complete the minimum Detention Period as ruled by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) (as per the clarification provided on 28 March 2023),” its statement read.

On Friday, a throng of local and international media hung around outside the Kgosi Mampuru II correctional centre in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, where Oscar Pistorius is being held.

Department of Correctional Services spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo speaks to the media outside the Kgosi Mampuru II correctional centre in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, where Oscar Pistorius is being held, 31 March 2023. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

The Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre in Atteridgeville, where former Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is being held. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Steenkamp family lawyer Tania Koen speaks to the media outside the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Atteridgeville. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

 

The closed-door parole board meeting was held at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, where Pistorius is being held. Steenkamp’s family opposed his parole bid and were set to give verbal and written statements on the impact the murder had on them, their lawyer Tania Koen told Reuters before the hearing. 

Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp – a model and aspiring lawyer – in his Pretoria home on 14 February 2013. 

The trial of the former Paralympic gold medallist, a.k.a the Blade Runner, drew worldwide interest when it got under way in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, in 2014. At the start of the proceedings, Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all charges including the “wilful and intentional murder” of Steenkamp, claiming that he had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder when he pumped four bullets through the toilet door in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Gauteng High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa believed Pistorius’s account of the shooting and convicted him of culpable homicide, sentencing him to five years in prison. 

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents Barry and June during an interview three days before what would’ve been their daughter’s 35th birthday on 16 August 2018. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile)

In December 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside Judge Masipa’s original verdict of culpable homicide and the finding that Pistorius could not have foreseen Steenkamp’s death, and ruled instead that Pretorius was indeed guilty of murder by dolus eventualis. The Supreme Court then ordered Masipa to give Pistorius a new sentence, which she later extended to six years. 

That same court, in a ruling by Judge Willie Seriti in 2017, found that the six-year sentence handed down by Masipa was “shockingly lenient”, and imposed the mandatory minimum sentence for murder of 15 years, Daily Maverick’s Rebecca Davis reported. Since he had already served time, the duration of his sentence after Seriti’s ruling was 13 years and five months. Seriti’s ruling meant that he would become eligible for parole in 2023: the minimum detention period is half of the sentence.


Speaking to journalists outside the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre on Friday, Department of Correctional Services (DCS) spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said “
the victims are afforded an opportunity to make representation” at the parole hearings.

It could be orally or in submission form – so they opted to come in person to provide that,” said Nxumalo, referring to Steenkamp’s mother who appeared in person before the board. “The same courtesy will be offered to the inmate, Pistorius,” he said.

Daily Maverick reached out to Nxumalo for follow-up comment, but he had not responded to calls at the time of publication.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Oscar Pistorius seeks parole decade after killing girlfriend

Steenkamp’s mother, June, told journalists from her car before the hearings that it was “going to be very hard to be in the same room as [Pistorius]”, Reuters reported. 

Nxumalo told journalists that after the hearings the board would inform the “relevant parties”. DM

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents June and Barry Steenkamp at the Pretoria High Court on 11 September 2014. (Photo: Gallo Images / Independent / Phill Magakoe)

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Blingtofling HD says:

    I have struggled forming a conclusion on this murder. The previous time he came up for parole the comments ranged from insults aimed at him, descriptions of how heartless, cruel he is and definitely he should rot in jail. I do not know why this made me uncomfortable. Perhaps the fact that he had to overcome great challenges to achieve what he did. It took courage and bravery. I do not know enough about the law to understand on what aspect of the evidence, it determined the final outcome. The narative at the time was condemning and the general public found him guilty even before the courts had. I just wondered about the man that had overcome enormous challenges and whether that process had somehow had an effect on his mental state. But I continue to puzzle about the ferocity with which he is vilified.

    • Jane Crankshaw says:

      All you need to do to understand the situation is to imagine your own daughter frightened and locking herself in a toilet to get away from a man attempting to harm her. Just close your eyes and imagine that …it should help put your feelings into perspective!

    • Johann Olivier says:

      How can anyone puzzle about the ‘ferocity with which he is vilified’? He killed another human being. He acted in complete disregard for the life of another. All accounts – evidentiary – at the trial illustrated his careless, vain, destructive personality. He overcame a great disability (with the help of a loving family) and, had he been anything but a sociopath, the world literally lay at his feet. Instead, he allowed his worst instincts to flower. And he is still alive and will have some time to be free.

  • Patterson Alan John says:

    Response to blingtofling – The man was found ‘Guilty’ on the evidence presented in Court.
    His defense was a pathetic attempt to cover-up the actions of an outraged and jealous lover.
    A scared and defenseless woman was brutally murdered by gunshots through a closed door. Since when does anyone fire shots through a closed door, when there is no threat from a supposed burglar?
    There will never be any excuse for domestic violence of any sort. The tragedy of this case is heart-wrenching for the family and there can be no excuse or sympathy for his actions, irrespective of his physical challenges. There are no mitigating factors to be entertained. He should remain in prison as justifiable punishment, which will never be sufficient for the crime that he committed.

  • virginia crawford says:

    It doesn’t make sense to the average person that applying for parole is an automatic right. There should be sentences without parole, and only prisoners who are exemplary inmates should ever be allowed to apply. I don’t particularly mean Pistorious, but very violent criminals are often up for parole halfway through their sentence. Many then go on to kill or rape again. Victims and their families gain some relief when a killer or rapist received a long sentence, only to see them out and about after ten or fifteen years. This is especially egregious when child rapists and murderers go free, and do it again.

  • William Dryden says:

    June Steencamp seems to be of the same frame of mind as Chris Hani’s wife that Oscar should stay in jail for the rest of his life.
    The public and media found him guilty before the trial. Why would he risk his entire life by murdering his girlfriend. As for Gerrie Nel, he was determined to get a murder conviction to impress the world media.
    The parole boards rules are what they are, however the mess up with the dates is scandalous to say the least.

  • bushtrack says:

    How objective and conscientious is the Parole Board? Oscar was convicted & sentenced for a horrific crime. He was removed from society to stop him from doing similar crimes. Our laws take cognizance of fact that any person can feel remorse and rehabilitate. For this reason, Correctional Services psychologists are to evaluate (signs of remorse, behaviour, etc) the inmate regularly which evaluations form part of the parole application.
    The Parole Board also evaluate the presentations by the family of the victim. It is only normal that the family don`t or can`t forgive in some instances.
    The fact that the parole applicant is or was a celebrity with high media visibility should not influence the decision-making the Parole Board. The legal prescriptions and rules are the only terms of reference.
    This brings me to the question of objectiveness and conscientiousness – how does the rapist & murderer who only received little media coverage during arrest or conviction get parole? Just to commit a similar horrendous crime while out on parole.
    The question arises whether Oscar is a victim of a lack of systemic objectiveness & conscientiousness? As is the case with most government departments?

  • Viv Hart says:

    I am also disabled, due to childhood polio, and with determination instilled by my mother, was able to lead and independent life, turned 81 in February. I am pulled in opposite directions in Oscar’s case, the disability makes one feel very vulnerable, so having a gun to protect oneself & loved ones, makes sense. However, I believe that he had/has a quick temper, and here you need to count to 10, before acting, thinking it was an intruder. I’m just sorry for Oscar, and for the Steenkamp family.

  • Herby Heap says:

    Let’s look at what the law says about the use of a firearm and then look at the situation of what transpired that night as presented in court and remove the personalities and emotion from the equation. In terms of s49(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act it states that one may use force and if necessary, deadly force if your own life is in danger (self defence) or if someone else’s life is in danger (private defence). The force must always be proportional to the threat. You can not shoot someone if they have slapped you in the face for example. The situation presented to the court was that irrespective of who Pistorius thought was in the house and in the toilet cubicle he was in control of the situation. He was armed with his firearm and the person was confined to the cubicle, clearly not a danger to himself. He therefore had no right to shoot into the cubicle because no attack was imminent or had started on his person. Why did he not shout out to Reeva to call security or the police while he kept whoever was in his house confined to the toilet cubicle? If he had done that he would have heard Reeva calling out from the cubicle that it was her who was in the cubicle and not a housebreaker. That’s why his allegation does not wash with me. Just a thought……

    • P B M .. says:

      Well said herbyheap. I listened to the trial whenever I could and nowhere, not once did I ever hear that he called out to whomever was behind the door to surrender and to warn them that he is armed. If he had, as you said, he would in all probability have heard Reeva reply “It’s me Oscar! Don’t shoot!” or words to that effect. Instead he chose to pump 4 bullets into the toilet without any warning and he must surely have realized what the result would be. Case closed.

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