TAKING STRAIN: Oscar Pistoriuss family members, his sister Aimee, his brother Carl and his father Henke sit in the Pretoria Magistrates Court during his bail application last month. Photo: Masi Losi


JOHANNESBURG: Murder-accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’s father was being racist when he commented that the government was not willing to protect whites, the ANC said yesterday.

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

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 ANC government was not willing to protect whites.

Murder accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius and his family distanced themselves yesterday from a report relating to the family’s use of weapons.

Oscar Pistorius’s uncle Arnold Pistorius distanced the Paralympian and his family from the comments yesterday morning.

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

Arnold Pistorius said the comments did not represent the views of Oscar Pistorius and his family.

“Oscar Pistorius’s family is deeply concerned about the comments made by Oscar’s father, Henke Pistorius, to UK newspaper The Telegraph...,” he said in the statement.

“Oscar and the rest of the Pistorius family distances itself from the comments. Henke’s interview with the newspaper was unapproved by our media liaison team.”

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.

Pistorius’s father’s comments were unfounded, the government said yesterday.

“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.”

The Young Communist League (YCL) 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’s remarks were capable of turning public opinion against Oscar Pistorius.

Pistorius faces a murder charge after shooting dead his model girlfriend, Steenkamp, on 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.