Pretoria - Former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius might be released on parole soon.
His parole hearing will be held on March 31, having been convicted of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in February 2013.
As in other parole hearings, this will also be a closed session.
Tania Koen, the lawyer acting on behalf of Reeva’s parents, June and Barry, Steenkamp, told the Pretoria News that they were aware of the hearing. June, however, did not want to comment further.
Koen said they were notified about it by the Department of Correctional Services.
“Oscar Pistorius is like any other offender, in terms of our law, entitled to be considered for parole when they have served their time.
“We are entitled to attend the parole hearing if we wanted to, or to deliver written submissions if we wanted to. These are rights which the family of victims have.”
Koen, however, didn’t comment on whether they would oppose parole.
The hearing followed an uphill battle by Pistorius to be reconsidered for parole.
He launched an application last year but the hearing never went ahead as the matter was removed from the court roll by agreement.
The Supreme Court of Appeal cleared the confusion over his time spent in jail following the various appeals and orders it had issued.
In papers filed in his application to compel the parole board to convene and to consider his parole, Pistorius said that he was eligible to be considered for parole in February 2021 as he had served half of his prison sentence.
But prison authorities said in their court papers that, according to their calculations, he would have only served half of his sentence in March this year this month.
The confusion over his time spent in jail followed the various appeals and orders issued by the Supreme Court after trial Judge Thokozile Masipa of the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, sentenced him to six years in prison in October 2014.
The State appealed the verdict, and the Supreme Court convicted Pistorius of murder in 2017.
The Supreme Court upped his sentence to 13 years and five months. This, in effect, meant that he would be eligible for parole in 2023 which is this year.
But at that stage he had already served slightly more than 500 days in terms of his culpable homicide conviction.
The Supreme Court again amended his sentence and ruled the 13 years and five months should be antedated to the date in 2014 when he was initially sentenced by Judge Masipa.
Taking this into account, Knight said that he had already served half his jail time.
Both Correctional Services and Knight had earlier issued letters to the Appeal Court in an attempt to clear up the confusion.
It is not clear whether it had indeed been done.
Meanwhile, Pistorius earlier had a meeting with Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s father, as part of a victim and offender dialogue.
It is part of restorative justice and forms part of the record before the parole board.
According to an affidavit filed by Pistorius, he was last year told by the authorities at the Atteridgeville prison that his parole hearing was due to take place in October last year.
However, because all the reports that had to serve before the board were not in place, the hearing didn’t take place.
Pistorius said he had, meanwhile, done everything within his power to ensure that all from his side was in place.
He noted that he was a model prisoner.
“I humbly submit that I have done everything in my power to rehabilitate, to conduct myself in such a manner as to constantly comply with the prison rules and to show full remorse.”
Pistorius said that he had completed all possible programmes in prison and thus qualified for parole.