06/03/2014 South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is escorted out of the Pretoria High Court. He stands trial for the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria East in February 2013. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Pretoria - The four men seen shielding Oscar Pistorius as he walks in and out of court are his relatives and not hired professional bodyguards.

The husbands of Pistorius’s four cousins have offered to protect him from the public and the media, ushering him safely in and out of court since the beginning of his murder trial at the Pretoria High Court.

It was previously presumed that the four smartly dressed men were bodyguards from a private security company, but Pistorius’s spokeswoman, Anneliese Burgess, on Thursday confirmed they were relatives.

“They have daily jobs, but are assisting him in and out of court. They all work for the same Pistorius family business here in Pretoria, therefore they make time in the morning and the afternoons to help Oscar,” she said.

The family have various businesses around the city.

Burgess would not comment further on issues not relating to the trial.

Pistorius’s sister, Aimee, was seen walking to the high court chambers on Thursday. When she saw the media waiting in front of the Pretoria News building, she stopped briefly behind a pole and waited for her aunt and cousin to walk with her.

Burgess said the family would not be commenting on Twitter about the case. “The family are very clear that commentary during the trial is not appropriate as the legal process must be allowed to unfold with integrity,” she said.

Pretoria News