Pistorius dad’s gun comments criticised

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oscar and henke AFP Oscar and Henke Pistorius. File photo: AFP

 Johannesburg - Comments made by murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius' father stating the government was not willing to protect whites were unfounded, government said on Tuesday.

“Crime is a societal problem, a common enemy which knows no race and affects all citizens,” said Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) spokeswoman Phumla Williams.

“South Africa is a democratic country with an effective crime prevention, safety and security programme that ensures the protection of all people in the country irrespective of race.”

Pistorius senior told British newspapers The Telegraph and The Daily Mirror that the family used weapons to defend themselves against crime in South Africa, and that the African National Congress government was not willing to protect whites.

In a statement Williams said: “Pistorius is unnecessarily misleading local and international communities, by in effect justifying what may be construed as criminal acts and an incitement of racial violence.”

She said government was committed to ensuring the safety and security of all South Africans irrespective of their race, gender, sexual orientation and religious beliefs.

“Government appeals to all citizens not to make irresponsible remarks but to work together to promote peace and harmony and ensure that social cohesion prevails in our country.”

Earlier on Tuesday the ANC said Pistorius was being racist.

“Not only is this statement devoid of truth, it is also racist,” said spokesman Jackson Mthembu.

“It is sad that he has chosen to politicise a tragic incident that is still fresh in the minds of those affected and the public.

“This tragic incident has affected two families that are still trying to come to terms with what happened, and this latest racist slur is not assisting these families,” he said.

Oscar Pistorius' uncle Arnold Pistorius distanced the paralympian and his family from the comments on Tuesday morning.

“The Pistorius family owns weapons purely for sport and hunting purposes,” he said in a statement, issued by Vuma Reputation Management.

Mthembu said the Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp matter was in the hands of competent courts, which were expected to handle the matter objectively and in accordance with the country's laws.

“Any speculation can only prejudice the case,” he said.

The ANC welcomed the statement released by the Pistorius family.

The Young Communist League of SA said: “We see them (comments) as desperate attempts to make acceptable the unacceptably large arms cache that the Pistorius family have informed (the) media they own.”

The YCL said Henke Pistorius' remarks were capable of turning public opinion against Oscar Pistorius.

Pistorius faces a murder charge after shooting dead his model girlfriend, Steenkamp, on St Valentine's Day. He was granted R1 million bail by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court last month. His next court appearance is on June 4. - Sapa



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