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By Itumeleng Mafisa

Digital Journalist

‘At least 25 000 women have been killed by their partners since Reeva died’

Oscar Pistorius walking out of prison sends the wrong message about GBV, says Women for Change.

Gender Based Violence (GBV) organisation Women for Change says 25 000 women in South Africa have been victims of femicide since Reeva Steenkamp was killed in 2013.

Steenkamp was killed by world renowned athlete Oscar Pistorius who will be released from prison on Friday after serving eight years behind bars for Steenkamp’s murder.

A spokesperson for the group Bulelwa Adonis said Pistorius’ walk out of prison was a travesty to the struggle against GBV.

“So Reeva’s heartbreaking story is one of many. Since her passing in 2013, an average of 25 000 women have been victims of femicide in South Africa. Oscar’s release is not just failing Reeva and her family, its failing all other sisters, who have died due to femicide, too,” Adonis said.

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Adonis said Women for Change would not be among groups that were expected to protest outside the Atteridgeville Correctional Facility where Pistorius has been kept over the years.

“No, we won’t be protesting because there is not much to protest. The parole board decided in November 2023 that he would be released on 5 January. So there is little we can do about his release. But we will keep talking about the injustice we feel,” she said.

Pistorius should not have been granted parole

Women for Change was one of the groups that were against Pistorius’ parole application. The group said it still believed the parole board had made a mistake in granting the former athlete parole.

“In March 2023 we supported the Steenkamps family with a public statement opposing Oscar’s parole release. We believe granting parole to someone convicted of killing another person sends a concerning message about accountability and justice in our country.

Gender-based violence and femicide have been a significant issue in South Africa. The official stats by Saps show that 3,914 women were murdered between April 2022 and March 2023. Most of the women were killed by their partner or ex-partner.

ALSO READ: Oscar Pistorius to be released from prison with strict conditions (citizen.co.za)

“Oscar’s parole release was decided just one day before the 16 Days of Activism against GBV campaign kicked off, which disappointed many activists, GBV organisations and members of society,” Adonis said.

Strict parole conditions

In a statement, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said it would not release the exact time Pistorius would be set free for his protection.

Pistorius will be on parole under strict conditions until his sentence expires in December 2029.

He will be assigned a parole officer, who will have to be kept informed when Pistorius is seeking job opportunities or moving around.

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