‘We are the ones serving a life sentence’, says June Steenkamp following Oscar Pistorius’ parole

Reeva Steenkamp’s mother June Steenkamp says she wants to live the rest of her life in peace and continue with her daughter’s legacy. Picture: File image

Reeva Steenkamp’s mother June Steenkamp says she wants to live the rest of her life in peace and continue with her daughter’s legacy. Picture: File image

Published Jan 5, 2024


Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, on Friday expressed the heartbreak the family experienced since their daughter was killed on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

On Friday morning, Oscar Pistorius, was released on parole after serving almost nine year’s for Reeva’s death.

He told the court that he mistook her for an intruder when he fired several shots into the toilet killing the model and law graduate.

In a statement, released on behalf of her and her late husband Barry, June said their lives changed forever the day their daughter died.

“The day South Africa lost its hero, Oscar Pistorius, and the day Barry and I lost our precious daughter, Reeva, at Oscar’s hands,” June said.

“Now, almost 11 years later, the pain is still raw and real, and my dear late husband Barry and I have never been able to come to terms with Reeva’s death, or the way she died.”

She said over the years she and Barry were encouraged by the love and messages of support from both friends and strangers.

“I wish I could thank each one personally for carrying Barry and I through these difficult years. Part of Barry and my daily conversations were always flooded by the sorrow we felt for the parents and families of victims whose perpetrators were not brought to book,” she said.

“Our thoughts remained with them as they were denied any form of closure and the names of their loved ones never recognised or honoured.”

She said re-living and re-telling their story has been a huge cross to bear.

“Whilst we remain grateful to the media, the intensity of the coverage of Oscar’s trial, imprisonment and parole has been a double-edged sword,” she said.

“The media interest meant the loss of our privacy and made it difficult to mourn in peace.”

June said these reports were often accompanied by verbal and emotional abuse by some members of the public.

“Not only towards us, but also towards Reeva. It is my sincere wish, and it was Barry’s too, that people will take a moment to consider the impact of their hurtful comments,” the grieving mother said.

“We did not choose this. We would much rather have our loving daughter alive, and laughing, with us.”

June said Pistorius’ release on parole had affirmed her and late husband’s Barry belief in the South African justice system.

“The conditions imposed by the parole board, which includes anger management courses and programs on gender-based violence, send out a clear message that gender-based violence is taken seriously.”

In questioning if there has been justice for Reeva or if Oscar has served enough time, June said: “There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back.

“We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence.”

She said going forward her only desire was that she be allowed to live her last years in peace.

“With my focus remaining on the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation, to continue Reeva’s legacy.”

The Department of Correction Services confirmed that Pistorius was back home.

“Pistorius would be admitted into the system of Community Corrections and will be monitored until the expiry date of his sentence in 2029,” the department said in a statement.

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