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by Mick the Ram
As agreed and first reported back in November, the disgraced Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius, has been freed from prison early, after a parole board ruled that he was “fit for social reintegration”.
He left Atteridgeville Correctional Centre via a private exit, on Friday morning (5 January) and was taken to what will now become his new home on the sprawling estate of his uncle, in an upmarket area just outside Pretoria.
He had been sentenced to 13 years and five months for the shocking murder of his then girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day, 2013.
He will remain under the supervision of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), assigned a monitoring official and will be subject to parole conditions until his sentence expires in December 2029.
Ms Steenkamp’s mother, June, released an emotional statement in which she acknowledged the fact that parole is part of the South African legal system, and as such accepted that the law had to take its course, but made the point that her family were the one’s “serving a life sentence”.
Surreptitious departure from facility
Despite assurances that Pistorius would be treated no differently from other inmates, prison officers allowed him to leave away from the main gate, where the media had gathered, and also seemed to have ushered him away much earlier than usual, probably in the early hours of the morning.
Conditions to be upheld on parole
The shamed and discredited former “National hero” is now a greying, overweight smoker, and although he will be housed in the luxury location of the upmarket Waterkloof suburb, and be kept
comfortable by his rich, church-going uncle Arnold, he will still have to adhere to strict parole conditions.
He will be confined to the home during set hours of the day, and is banned from speaking to the media, or drinking alcohol until the expiry of his sentence in 2029. He will also be required to have therapy to help deal with issues around gender-based violence and anger.
The house he will call home for the best part of the next six years is fortified by armed guards, security technology and canine patrols, so he might try to argue he is in some ways still incarcerated, but just in more affluent surroundings.
That of course would be nonsense and he can consider himself very fortunate to have such a place to be released into as he ponders his future.
Heartfelt message from victims mother
For June Steenkamp this was a day she knew was coming and in her statement released today, there were reflections that demonstrated a thoroughly decent, but totally broken woman, due to the actions of a man she says still will not accept accountability.
She recalled that day in 2013 that changed her life forever. The day she said she “lost our precious daughter, Reeva, at Oscar’s hands.” Mrs Steenkamp spoke of the pain from back then that is still raw and real, and how her “dear late husband Barry” and herself could never come to terms with their loss and in particular, the way in which she died.
Violent attack with no defenable
Pistorius had fired at Reeva four times with a pistol through the door of a toilet cubicle she was cowering in at his house in Pretoria, in the early hours of 14 February 2013. She died almost instantly.
Thanks given for support
Mrs Steenkamp thanked the many people who over the years had sent messages and offered support and showing her kind heart, she mentioned how she and her late husband would often feel deep sorrow for the parents and families of victims whose perpetrators were not brought to book. She even admitted to feeling guilt that at least they had a form of closure.
Nevertheless, she also explained how all the media interest surrounding the case over the years had meant the loss of privacy and made it difficult to mourn in peace.
No justice will compensate
Continuing she told how sadly, reports were often accompanied by verbal and emotional abuse by some members of the public, not only towards them, but also towards their deceased daughter.
“We did not choose this; we would much rather have our loving daughter alive, and laughing, with us, ” she said, before adding: “Has there been justice for Reeva? Has Oscar served enough time? There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back. We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence.”
Plea to be left alone with Reeva’s legacy
She finished by saying her only desire is that she will be allowed to live her last years in peace, with her focus remaining on the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation, to continue her daughter’s legacy.