Oscar Pistorius, the former Paralympic sprinter convicted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, asked a parole board on Friday to release him from jail. Pistorius, who has been behind bars for nearly seven years, became eligible for parole after serving half of his 13-year sentence.
The double-amputee athlete, Oscar Pistorius who was seeking an early release from prison, 10 years after murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was denied parole on Friday.
The parole board will consider him again for parole in August 2024, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said on Friday afternoon.
“The reason provided is that the inmate did not complete the minimum Detention Period as ruled by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) (as per the clarification provided on 28 March 2023),” its statement read.
On Friday, a throng of local and international media hung around outside the Kgosi Mampuru II correctional centre in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, where Oscar Pistorius is being held.
[caption id="attachment_1628851" align="alignnone" width="720"] Department of Correctional Services spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo speaks to the media outside the Kgosi Mampuru II correctional centre in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, where Oscar Pistorius is being held, 31 March 2023. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1628850" align="alignnone" width="720"] The Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre in Atteridgeville, where former Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is being held. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1628848" align="alignnone" width="720"] Steenkamp family lawyer Tania Koen speaks to the media outside the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Atteridgeville. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)[/caption]
The closed-door parole board meeting was held at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, where Pistorius is being held. Steenkamp’s family opposed his parole bid and were set to give verbal and written statements on the impact the murder had on them, their lawyer Tania Koen told Reuters before the hearing.
Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp – a model and aspiring lawyer – in his Pretoria home on 14 February 2013.
The trial of the former Paralympic gold medallist, a.k.a the Blade Runner, drew worldwide interest when it got under way in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, in 2014. At the start of the proceedings, Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all charges including the “wilful and intentional murder” of Steenkamp, claiming that he had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder when he pumped four bullets through the toilet door in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.
Gauteng High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa believed Pistorius’s account of the shooting and convicted him of culpable homicide, sentencing him to five years in prison.
[caption id="attachment_1628972" align="alignnone" width="720"] Reeva Steenkamp’s parents Barry and June during an interview three days before what would’ve been their daughter’s 35th birthday on 16 August 2018. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Lulama Zenzile)[/caption]
In December 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside Judge Masipa’s original verdict of culpable homicide and the finding that Pistorius could not have foreseen Steenkamp’s death, and ruled instead that Pretorius was indeed guilty of murder by dolus eventualis. The Supreme Court then ordered Masipa to give Pistorius a new sentence, which she later extended to six years.
That same court, in a ruling by Judge Willie Seriti in 2017, found that the six-year sentence handed down by Masipa was “shockingly lenient”, and imposed the mandatory minimum sentence for murder of 15 years, Daily Maverick’s Rebecca Davis reported. Since he had already served time, the duration of his sentence after Seriti’s ruling was 13 years and five months. Seriti’s ruling meant that he would become eligible for parole in 2023: the minimum detention period is half of the sentence.
Speaking to journalists outside the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre on Friday, Department of Correctional Services (DCS) spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said “the victims are afforded an opportunity to make representation” at the parole hearings.
“It could be orally or in submission form – so they opted to come in person to provide that,” said Nxumalo, referring to Steenkamp’s mother who appeared in person before the board. “The same courtesy will be offered to the inmate, Pistorius,” he said.
Daily Maverick reached out to Nxumalo for follow-up comment, but he had not responded to calls at the time of publication.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Oscar Pistorius seeks parole decade after killing girlfriend
Steenkamp’s mother, June, told journalists from her car before the hearings that it was “going to be very hard to be in the same room as [Pistorius]”, Reuters reported.
Nxumalo told journalists that after the hearings the board would inform the “relevant parties”. DM
[caption id="attachment_1628973" align="alignnone" width="720"] Reeva Steenkamp's parents June and Barry Steenkamp at the Pretoria High Court on 11 September 2014. (Photo: Gallo Images / Independent / Phill Magakoe)[/caption]