Oscar Pistorius will be released on parole in January, eight years after being sentenced to prison. He will be released into a different world, a long cry from his former existence as a globetrotting athlete.
On Valentine’s Day 2013, Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp via a locked bathroom door, setting the stage for a high-profile murder trial that resulted in the former Paralympian being convicted guilty of culpable homicide.
Pistorius was eventually convicted to 13 years and five months in prison for murdering Steenkamp under the concept of dolus eventualis, after two State appeals.
The Supreme Court of Appeal then issued various rulings and letters regarding when that sentence would take effect, making Pistorius ineligible for parole in March. This came after the Constitutional Court effectively confirmed his eligibility for release at the time.
On Friday, the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board (CSPB) for Kgosi Mampuru II Management Area debated whether the 37-year-old met the standards for release for just under one hour.
They also took into account a victim impact statement given by June Steenkamp, the mother of Pistorius’ deceased girlfriend Reeva, who stated that Pistorius was not rehabilitated.
Steenkamp previously told News24 that if he is released, she fears for the safety of women.
“I do not believe Oscar’s version, that he thought the person in the toilet was a burglar. In fact, I do not know anybody who does,” she said.
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.
While the National Prosecuting Authority first stated that Reeva yelled during the fatal shooting, Pistorius’ close neighbors testified that the shouting came from him. The State was unable to adequately refute that evidence.
According to Steenkamp family spokesperson Rob Matthews, his parole conditions include being on correctional supervision and undergoing therapy to address his anger issues.
The Department of Correctional Services said in a statement that the board evaluated Pistorius’ profile as well as “other material submitted for the purposes of parole consideration.”
OSCAR PISTORIUS PLACED ON PAROLE
The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) confirms parole placement for Mr Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, effectively from 5 January 2024. pic.twitter.com/6u7w4yTVJp
— Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services 🇿🇦 (@Min_JCS) November 24, 2023
“Classified as a first-time offender with a positive support system, Oscar Pistorius’ parole placement is in line with Section 73 of the Correctional Services Act. Parole placement forms part of the total rehabilitation programme in correcting offending behaviour and may include continuation of programmes aimed at reintegration whilst in the system of community corrections,” the statement read.
“Mr Pistorius will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections and will be subjected to supervision in compliance with parole conditions until his sentence expires.”
Reacting to the decision of the CSPB, Steenkamp’s lawyer Tania Koen said the outcome was expected.
“June is satisfied with the conditions imposed by the parole board as it sends a clear message that gender-based violence will not be tolerated. This is especially relevant in light of the start of 16 Days of Activism [Against Gender-Based Violence] tomorrow [25 November].
“Today is a victory for victim participation in parole proceedings as it is evident that the Parole Board considered June’s victim impact statement. It affirms the importance of victim participation not only to ensure that the parole board can make an informed decision when considering the offender, but equally important it forms part of a victim’s healing journey.”