Blow for Reeva Steenkamp’s family as new date for Oscar Pistorius’s parole announced
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Pretoria - The recent decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal to amend its ruling and allow for convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius to be eligible for parole in March 2023 has left Reeva Steenkamp’s family’s emotions raw.
This is according to the family’s legal representative Tania Koen, who said the decision to amend the ruling on the paralympian’s sentence could not have come at a worse time, with the anniversary of Steenkamp’s death coming up soon.
Steenkamp was shot and killed on Valentine’s Day in 2013 by Pistorius after he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet where she was.
Pistorius has continued to maintain that he allegedly mistook her for a burglar.
Koen said the decision had left Steenkamp’s parents June and Barry Steenkamp frustrated and sad, even though they understood that everyone makes mistakes.
Pistorius’s father Henke Pistorius said the main thing for him was that he understood that parole was a privilege and not a right and he was convinced his son had more than met the requirements to be granted parole.
However, he did stress that the decision about whether to release Oscar lay with the Department of Correctional Services.
“I trust the department to look at his position in a favourable light. Oscar has done great things in his life, and I always tell him that he will still do more great things after he is released from prison.”
The Supreme Court of Appeal has amended its decision to increase his sentence after it admitted to an error of not taking into account the 506 days Pistorius had already served for his girlfriend’s murder.
But the Department of Correctional Services said that at this stage the department would not confirm a date for Pstorius’s parole.
The reason for this, departmental spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said, was because there were certain processes that had to be followed.
“All inmates in South Africa become eligible for parole consideration after serving the minimum required time. This, however, does not guarantee parole placement but a privilege that must be earned following our prescripts and ultimately the inmate’s readiness for social reintegration.”
Pistorius was initially found guilty of culpable homicide, but when he appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2015 that was changed to murder.
In December 2017, Pistorius turned to the Constitutional Court seeking to overturn the higher prison sentence handed down by the Appeals Court in November of the same year.
The Supreme Court had increased his sentence by 13 years and five months, more than doubling the sentence from the six years he initially received for the shooting.