Parole granted to Oscar Pistorius

Parole granted to Oscar Pistorius . Picture: Phill Magakoe/Inepdendent Media

Parole granted to Oscar Pistorius . Picture: Phill Magakoe/Inepdendent Media

Published Nov 25, 2023


Three days after his 37th birthday, Oscar Pistorius received the good news that his parole application was successful.

The parole board yesterday granted him parole, but ordered that he will only be released from the Atteridgeville Prison on January 5.

He will remain on parole and subjected to parole conditions, up to December 2029, when he will be deemed to have served his entire 13-year-and-five-month prison sentence for the 2013 Valentine’s Day murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

The parole board sat until lunchtime yesterday hearing submissions from Pistorius, correctional officers and a social worker, regarding his rehabilitation while in prison, as well as from the mother of murdered Reeva Steenkamp, June Steenkamp.

Correctional Services, meanwhile, confirmed the placement of Pistorius on parole, coupled with bail conditions.

Spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said while Pistorius will not wear an ankle bracelet to monitor his movements, as these are not used in South Africa, he will be monitored by a parole officer. This will include surprise visits to his home.

According to his parole conditions, he will be assigned to a Correctional Services case manager, who will be able to monitor his movements.

Pistorius will return to his Uncle Arnold Pistorius’ Waterkloof home, where he will be serving his sentence.

While June did not oppose Pistorius’ parole hearing, she said in a statement read out to the parole board that she did not believe Pistorius’ version that he thought the person in the toilet was a burglar.

June did not attend the parole hearing but Rob Matthews, the father of murdered Leigh Matthews, read her statement to the media.

Steenkamp said in the statement that she had forgiven Pistorius long ago as she knew almost instantly that she would not be able to survive if she had to cling to her anger.

She said she also does not think anyone believed Pistorius’ version of events following the 2013 Valentine's Day killing of Reeva.

“My dearest child screamed for her life; loud enough for the neighbours to hear her. I do not know what gave rise to his choice to shoot through a closed door four times at somebody, with hollow-point ammunition, when I believe he knew it was Reeva,” she said.

“I do not know which rehabilitation programmes were attended by Oscar while incarcerated, but I sincerely hope that his rehabilitation included psychotherapy to deal with his temper and abusive behaviour towards women.

“I also hope that specialist criminologists were engaged to assist in compiling a psychological profile that would assist in determining his risk for recidivism.

“At this time, I am not convinced that Oscar has been rehabilitated.”

June added: “My dear Barry left this world utterly devastated by the thought that he had failed to protect his daughter and, therefore, in his role as a father, as he perceived it.

“The only hope he had left was that Oscar would find it in himself to eventually tell the full truth.”

Barry died in September due to ill health.

Nxumalo, meanwhile, said the decision to place Pistorius on parole was made by the parole board after they assessed his profile and other facts.

He said Pistorius is classified as a first-time offender and entitled to be considered for parole after he served half of his 13-year-and-five-month sentence.

He said Pistorius will complete the remainder of his sentence in the system of community corrections and will be subjected to supervision in compliance with parole conditions until his full sentence expires.

June, meanwhile, said in her statement that the pain caused by the “dastardly” murder of Reeva did not only include emotional trauma. It also included trauma that manifested physically, as became evident in the accelerated deterioration in health for both Barry and herself.

“When Reeva died, I was a ‘young’ 67 and Barry was 70 years old. I can confirm that our lives were gravely impacted – physically, emotionally and financially.”

June said it is her wish that the parole policies and procedures of the department be applied consistently in his release.

“I do not know to what extent this behaviour still exists or was evident during his time of incarceration, but I am concerned for the safety of any woman should this not have been addressed in his rehabilitation.”

June described Reeva as her “miracle” after doctors said she would have difficulty in conceiving after a miscarriage.

“Barry and I had big dreams for Reeva. From a young age, she became a skilful equestrian and liked nothing better than helping Barry, who managed stables and trained racing horses. From a very young age, she had the ability to light up a room with her presence,” she said.

June added that in the 29 years that Reeva lived, she developed into a well-rounded young lady, completed her law degree and started a successful modelling career.

She also started using her voice to advocate for the plight of those exposed to domestic abuse and rape.

“It has taken me the best part of 10 years to come to realize that Reeva appeared to have fulfilled her destiny during her life and more abundantly so, in her tragic death,” June said.

Yesterday was Pistorius' second parole hearing this year. At the end of March the parole board refused his release and said that it would again consider it in a year’s time.

This was due to confusion regarding how long he had already served behind bars.

But Pistorius’ legal team turned to the Constitutional Court, which had the last word on the matter. The apex court found that in March this year, he had already served half of his prison term and was thus eligible to be considered for parole.

Tania Koen, June Steenkamp’s lawyer, said June is satisfied with the parole conditions imposed on Pistorius, which stated that he had to undergo anger management as well as gender-based violence courses, while on parole.

“She feels that the parole board did listen to her victim impact report. We see her participation (by way of her victim impact report) as a victory for victims so that they do know they have a voice and that they must participate in parole proceedings, as they can make a difference,” Koen said.

Saturday Star and Pretoria News

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