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Durban - I would like to meet Oscar Pistorius and forgive the man who killed my niece – these are the words of Reeva Steenkamp’s grieving uncle, Mike.
“That way I can find more peace with the situation,” he told CNN’s Drew Griffin during an interview on Thursday.
Olympic athlete Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, 29-year-old Reeva at his Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day. He was charged with Reeva’s murder but has claimed he mistook her for an intruder. He is out on bail of R1 million and is awaiting trial in June.
Steenkamp said he would forgive Pistorius whether the shooting was an accident or not. “Whatever, whatever the outcome. I feel with my belief and if Christ could forgive when he died on the cross, why can’t I?” he said.
Reeva’s cousin, Kim Martin, also spoke to Griffin. She said she and Reeva were “as close as sisters” and that she knew Reeva was not in love. “She would chat to me about it,” said Martin. “She never did.”
Also interviewed was former PSL soccer player Mark Batchelor, who was involved in an altercation with Pistorius last year.
Batchelor said of Pistorius: “He would have a trip switch and, you know, he’d get violent and angry... He would fight with people and cause a lot of problems... ”
Controversy surrounds the shooting and the court case but Martin said the less she heard about it, the better.
“None of us are going to be represented at the trial. None of us in the family are going to go up (to Pretoria),” added Steenkamp. “We won’t be present. I can tell you that now... It’s not about the court case, it’s about Reeva.”
“It would be too painful,” said Martin. It did not matter what happened to Pistorius anyway. “Nothing will bring Reeva back,” he said.
Of her first – and only – meeting with Pistorius, Martin said: “It was not long enough to form an opinion of his personality.”
But she said he “did seem like a nice guy”.
When asked if she still thought that, she declined to comment.
The two agreed that the family was still struggling to come to terms with Reeva’s death.
Steenkamp said he still awoke each morning expecting his niece to “give him a phone call” and Martin said it was easier to cope if she focused on the fact that her cousin was no longer here and that she was not coming back.
Meanwhile Vuma Reputation Management has denied reports that it had parted ways with the Pistorius family, saying it was still working with them.
Chief executive Janine Hills said the assumption came from a radio interview in which she explained that the company was handing over the process of media liaison back to the family.
“We don’t normally act as spokesmen. We would normally train someone to do it and also help them understand the different mediums such as radio, TV and print.
“Sadly, no one in the Pistorius family was able to do it, they were traumatised and in shock and asked us to do it,” she said.