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‘Global support for Oscar’

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PN South Africa Pistorius Shooting

AP

Peet van Zyl, managing agent for Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorius, talks to the press outside the Brooklyn police station.

Lali van Zuydam

OSCAR Pistorius has received overwhelming support from within South Africa and all over the world, his agent claimed yesterday as the Paralympic athlete remained in custody charged with the murder of his girlfriend, a model.

Peet van Zyl said outside the Brooklyn police station soon after visiting Pistorius that support for him from all over the world was immense and a lot of fans had sent their good wishes.

Van Zyl said the support was “really on a global scale. South African fans, international fans from literally all over the world”.

Van Zyl said he visited Pistorius primarily to discuss his running career and would not respond to questions about the mental and emotional state of the 26-year-old athlete.

It was a busy weekend outside the Brooklyn police station where friends, family, his lawyer and some clergymen visited Pistorius throughout the weekend.

Local and international media camped outside the police station the entire weekend, hoping for an interview with the family and Pistorius’s lawyer.

Friends of Pistorius visited throughout the day, but none spoke to the media.

Pistorius’s sister, Aimeé, rushed into the police station just before 4pm with a Woolworths bag, presumably for her brother. She ignored the media and refused to comment on his emotional state.

Van Zyl, dressed neatly in a suit, said his visit to Pistorius was of a professional nature.

“I came to discuss his career and his plans for this year. I also came as a friend to provide him with moral support. I hope to visit him again soon,” he said.

Van Zyl declined to comment on whether any of Pistorius’s sponsors had pulled out although it is now known that M-Net has dropped its “Oscar month” advertisements.

Van Zyl said a formal statement regarding races and sponsors would be released last night or today.

“We have cancelled some events, but it is too early to comment on his long-term future.

“We only discussed the immediate future and previous commitments he had made,” he said.

It was confirmed that Pistorius would not be travelling to Australia in March as originally scheduled.

Van Zyl said: “The events and circumstances are tragic.

“All we can do is support Oscar in this time,” he said.

A pastor from the Northern Cape, known as AJ Wilson, visited Pistorius to pray for him.

“Since Friday, I’d felt I had to come, but I did not know where the police station was,” he said.

Wilson said he and Pistorius cried together throughout their meeting. “He was only crying. We cried together about the circumstances he faces,” he said.

Wilson said he was sitting in the bath yesterday morning when the Holy Spirit told him to take the chance and visit Pistorius.

“I am nothing, I am no one. I am just a lowly person from the Northern Cape. I just do what the Lord tells me to do and He told me to come here,” he said.

Wilson was allowed into Pistorius’s cell. “My daughter, Oscar and I held hands and we thanked God. We can do 99 percent of things right in our lives and make one mistake everyone remembers. We prayed and asked God to forgive,” he said.

Wilson said Pistorius was a personal hero of his.

“We prayed that we may trust God to handle the court case and to not let us lose focus of the hero Pistorius is,” he said.

Another pastor from the Community Character Courage (3C) Church visited Pistorius early yesterday afternoon, but said the situation was “too sensitive” to comment.

Kenny Oldwage, Pistorius’s lawyer arrived at the police station just before 5pm.

He declined to address the media or shed light on details that had emerged in some of the Sunday newspapers.

Pistorius will be held at the police station until tomorrow when he will appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court where his bail application will be heard.

Pistorius is being held for the alleged murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. She was shot in his Pretoria home in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said on Friday at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court that the State was willing to argue a Schedule 6 offence, which requires exceptional circumstances before bail is granted. The State would also argue a case of premeditated murder against Pistorius.

On Saturday evening, the public had the chance to get to know Steenkamp after her death.

Tropika Island of Treasure 5, the reality television show in which Steenkamp was a contestant, aired on SABC1 that evening.

The opening interview was one with Steenkamp after she was voted off the show. She ends her interview with “I love you all so much.”

The show is set in Jamaica where celebrity contestants take part in challenges to win the ultimate prize of R1 million.

Steenkamp introduced herself and giggled when she told the audience: “I am not going anywhere” as she had her heart set on winning the prize.

A later scene showed Steenkamp entering her bedroom in the contestants’ house.

She saw a heart on her pillow and said: “Aw, that is so romantic”.

Producer Samantha Moon said the show was aired as a tribute to Steenkamp, but it has drawn criticism from activists.

“The show was dedicated to Reeva’s memory,” she said.

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