Pretoria - “I want to look at Oscar. Really look him in the eyes, and see for myself the truth about what he did to Reeva. And whatever the court decides at the end of his trial, I will be ready to forgive him. But first, I want to force him to look at me, Reeva’s mother, and see the pain and anguish he’s inflicted on me. I feel I need that,” says June Steenkamp, who will come face to face with her daughter’s killer, Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius, in the North Gauteng High Court on Monday.
She has even planned where she will sit in the court so that Pistorius will have to look at her.
She told British newspaper the Mail on Sunday last week that the decision to attend the trial had been daunting for her.
Steenkamp will be accompanied by her lawyers and daughter Simone to hear what happened on Valentine’s Day last year when her daughter was shot by Pistorius.
The athlete says he thought she was an intruder and it was all a terrible accident. The State will try to prove it was murder.
Since her daughter was killed, Steenkamp has refused to read newspaper reports or watch television documentaries.
“I know many people in my position would want to see him dead or badly punished. But I believe in faith and justice. I don’t have any hatred or revenge in my heart. That’s not my way. I would rather pray for him and pray that my family can get through this terrible time,” she told the Mail on Sunday.
Steenkamp, 67, says she still has no idea why Pistorius shot her daughter. She believes that if she attends court and listens to his version of events she will finally learn the truth about how and why her daughter died. “That is my obsession: the truth about why Oscar did what he did that night,” she said.
The paper reported that the Steenkamp family’s desire was to “reclaim” Reeva from the many friends, and friends of friends, who had portrayed themselves as those closest to her.
Steenkamp admitted to the paper that she felt resentful towards the Myers family, who hosted Reeva in Joburg. “They even held a memorial service for her without any consultation with me. Although I feel grateful that they provided a family home for her for a short while, and that Reeva was close to their two daughters, I think it is time to re-establish that I am Reeva’s mother,” she said.
Steenkamp told the Mail on Sunday she planned to attend the first day of the trial and the judgment. In court on Monday she planned only to greet Warren Lahoud, Reeva’s former long-term boyfriend to whom the family was still close.
Barry Steenkamp will not be in court on Monday because of ailing health, but he hopes to attend at some stage.
“There will be a time in the next few weeks when I know I should be there. When that time comes, I want to confront Pistorius,” Reeva’s father said.
Although not in court, he will be able to follow every word. The court gave permission last week for live audio feeds.
On Sunday, Pistorius’s attorney, Brian Webber, said the defence team was hard at work preparing for the case.
Pistorius family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess said they would not make any further media comments until the trial was concluded. “The family wants the focus to be on the trial.”
On Sunday, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Nathi Mncube said he felt they were prepared for all eventualities. “I suppose there will be a bit of chaos here and there, but inside the courtroom I can almost guarantee you it will go well,” he said.
Around and inside the court there would be between 15 and 20 security personnel, he said.
Sunday’s wet conditions in the city did not stop various media houses from putting the final touches to their preparations at the High Court in Pretoria for the three-week trial. And the outlook for Monday is gloomy too with the SA Weather Service predicting cloudy conditions with widespread showers.
Outside broadcasting units were set up all along the southern side of Madiba Street. Various agencies had places staked out on the roof of the SA Post Office building at the corner of Palace and Madiba streets for a bird’s-eye view of the Pretoria High Court.
On Monday, Talk Radio 702 will broadcast all its daytime shows (6am-6pm) live from the Pretoria News offices.
Meanwhile, Gauteng traffic police have warned motorists to avoid Madiba Street between Bosman and Thabo Sehume streets between 8am and 4pm.
Gauteng traffic police spokesman Obed Sibasa said: “Law enforcement agencies will monitor traffic and minimise congestion around the court. Motorists found obstructing traffic or parked illegally will be subject to stringent law enforcement. Journalists and people not accredited are advised to stay away as we are expecting huge numbers of people at the hearing.”
Alternative routes are Sophie de Bruyn, Struben, Francis Baard, Nana Sita and Pretorius streets.