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No sign of Oscar’s dad at his trial

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Henke Pistorius stands behind his son during a court appearance last year. File photo: Masi Losi

Pretoria - Where is Oscar Pistorius’s father, Henke? Pistorius sr attended his son’s initial appearance in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court, but he has not been seen this week.

The Blade Runner has been flanked by brother Carl, sister Aimee, uncle Arnold, and other family members.

Pistorius’s spokeswoman, Anneliese Burgess, said they would not comment on any family matters and were rather concentrating on the trial.

Pistorius’s last public appearance with his son was during his bail application in February last year.

Last March the Pistorius family distanced themselves from comments by Pistorius sr that the family had to arm themselves because the ANC government had failed to tackle rampant crime.

Pistorius sr told The Telegraph that he and other members of his family owned a total of 55 guns because they could not rely on police to protect them against criminals. He laid the blame for South Africa’s violent crime on the ANC-led state.

“It speaks to the ANC government. Look at white crime levels, why protection is so poor in this country. It’s an aspect of our society,” he said. “You can’t rely on the police, not because they are inefficient always, but because crime is so rife.”

Arnold Pistorius, Henke’s brother, said the family as a whole were “deeply concerned” about the remarks, and strongly rejected the suggestion that they blamed the ANC government for crime against whites in particular.

He said that contrary to his brother's claim, the family owned firearms “purely for sport and hunting purposes”.

“Oscar Pistorius’s family is deeply concerned about the comments made by Oscar’s father, Henke Pistorius, to the Telegraph… especially about his comments that the ANC government is not willing to protect white South Africans,” he said at the time.

It was to his uncle’s home that Pistorius retreated after being granted bail.

In his autobiography, ghost written by Gianni Merlo, Pistorius described his late mother, Sheila, as “the centre of my world”.

His parents divorced when he was seven, and he soon drifted away from his largely absent father. His mother died of an adverse drug reaction when he was 15.

In 2008, Pistorius sr wrote a letter to his son in which he defended his “exacting” and “sometimes even cruel” behaviour towards him. He said he was only trying to make Pistorius more “self-sufficient” and capable of standing up to bullies.

Pistorius later told a journalist that his father was “not much of a parent”.

Pretoria News

Click here for IOL’s live blog about the Oscar trial.


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