Johannesburg - As lawyers for “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius demanded answers from South African police and prosecutors over crime-scene pictures leaked to a British television station, model Reeva Steenkamp’s cash-strapped parents were being forced to sell the exclusive rights to their tragic story to make ends meet.
Barry and June Steenkamp have already moved out of the Port Elizabeth house they were living in courtesy of their daughter, shot dead by her boyfriend, Pistorius, in February.
Although friends and acquaintances remain tight-lipped about their circumstances, Saturday Star has established that the couple have moved to a nearby smallholding.
Meanwhile, although Pistorius has been reported to be “a broken man”, the disgraced Paralympian, who is expected back in court on Tuesday, remains financially well-off.
A Legal City search showed that Pistorius owns three properties; two units in an upmarket complex in Equestria in Pretoria, and the house in the prestigious Silver Woods security estate where he shot Steenkamp.
He purchased the first unit in the Ss Weeping Willow Complex for R674 900 in 2006, and the second for R800 000 in 2008. A few months later Pistorius bought the luxury Silver Woods estate home for nearly R4 million. It has been on sale for R6.5m since 2011.
On Friday Alex Crawford, Sky News special correspondent in South Africa, tweeted that the company had a strict policy of not paying for stories and that no money was paid for any of the crime-scene pictures that were aired.
But it appears that the Steenkamp parents have struck two deals, one locally and one internationally with the UK’s Channel Five, which will on Monday air a one-hour documentary titled: Why Did Oscar Pistorius Kill Our Daughter?
The documentary was created by Mentorn Media, the same production company behind the quick turn-around documentary aired on BBC 3 in March, and is said to be the “only in-depth television interview” given by Reeva’s parents.
The Steenkamps said through their lawyers: “It is difficult for an ordinary couple like ourselves to handle such a multitude of media requests. We have therefore taken the decision, on legal advice, to reach an agreement with one organisation, Passion Distribution of the UK, to handle all of our TV arrangements until the end of the trial of Mr Pistorius.”
The documentary formed part of the deal, and they took part “in order to pay tribute to our daughter”.
A media release issued by Channel Five last month said the documentary would touch on issues such as how the death of their daughter destroyed the Steenkamps’ lives, what Reeva had told them about her arguments with Pistorius, and why they feared for her safety. They would also show personal pictures and letters.
Channel Five spokesman Nick Caley would not divulge the bidding process for the film, saying this was private. However, he quoted Channel Five’s director of programming, Ben Frow, as saying: “This tragic story is one of the biggest in recent years and we would like to thank Barry and June Steenkamp for agreeing to give these interviews at such a difficult time.”
The Steenkamps also feature this week in an exclusive cover story in YOU and Huisgenoot magazines. The story has pictures and interviews with Reeva’s parents from the day they scattered her ashes on the beach at Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth.
Attempts to contact YOU and Huisgenoot yesterday for details about how their deals are structured, and whether the magazines pay for exclusive content, were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, retired jockey Gavin Venter told this week of how he told Barry Steenkamp “to get something out of” the story about his daughter’s death, likening the killing to that of Nicole Simpson by her football star husband, OJ.
Venter said Barry dismissed the suggestion that he take money for the story, saying he “couldn’t do it”.
When Saturday Star contacted horse-racing associates of Barry Steenkamp, after being unable to speak to the couple directly, most declined to comment on the couple’s personal circumstances, citing knowledge of confidentiality agreements with the media houses.
One person close to the Steenkamp couple did however describe them as “indigent”.
In the latest YOU magazine article, the couple say Reeva helped them before her death, and that they’re still considering whether or not to sue Pistorius for damages. They add that relatives and friends are supporting them financially and emotionally.
In the Pistorius camp, reports earlier this week were that Pistorius had paid a fine that was “less than R1m” due to unpaid tax.
This came after Sars looked into the athlete’s financial affairs following his bail application in February, when it was revealed in court that he earned about R5.6m per year.
Since the February shooting, two of Pistorius’s biggest sponsors have broken ties with him, and he no longer competes at athletics events.
Tuesday’s court appearance by Pistorius is likely to be a 10-minute formality and the case is expected to be transferred to the Pretoria High Court.