Nearly 11 years after the tragic event that shocked the world, Oscar Pistorius has been released on parole, the South African Department of Correctional Services confirmed on Friday.
The once-revered Paralympic athlete, known for his history-making runs on prosthetic blades, walked free from Pretoria's Atteridgeville Correctional Centre after serving eight years for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
"The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is able to confirm that Oscar Pistorius is a parolee, effectively from 5 January 2024. He was admitted into the system of community corrections and is now at home," DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said in a statement.
After gaining fame as the 'Blade Runner', Pistorius' fall from grace came swiftly when he shot Steenkamp, a law graduate and model, through the bathroom door of his home. He has consistently claimed he mistook her for an intruder.
Pistorius has now been entrusted into the care of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, and will reside in the wealthy suburb of Waterkloof in Pretoria for the remainder of his parole.
This location has seen heightened security, with private guards setting up barricades since Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, made a statement reflecting on the outcome: "We always knew that parole was part of South Africa's justice system," a section of the statement read.
She said that while the conditions of Pistorius' parole remain undisclosed by the correctional services department, it has reinforced their "belief in the South African justice system."
The court saga that captured global attention concluded with Pistorius being convicted of culpable homicide before the sentence was appealed and increased.
Judge Thokozile Masipa, of Gauteng High Court, initially handed down a lesser sentence for the shooting, but after two appeals by the state, Pistorius' conviction was elevated to murder under the legal principle of "dolus eventualis", indicating Pistorius should have realised his actions might kill someone, regardless of who he believed was behind the door.
Pistorius' release now sparks new discussions on the South African judicial system and the nature of parole, as his long and controversial legal battle comes to a close.