Is Oscar Pistorius really rehabilitated?
GBV activists are aghast at the apparent lenience of the original sentence and the soft stance on his parole by correctional services.
Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo/ AFP
Gender-based violence (GBV) activists are aghast at the apparent lenience of the original sentence and the soft stance on his parole by correctional services.
While not wanting to downplay the seriousness of GBV, it must be pointed out that what has happened to Pistorius is in accordance with South African law.
Firstly, his original conviction for culpable homicide was changed to one of murder (with, effectively, indirect intent) by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
And later, a sentence of just five years on that charge was changed to 13 years and six months by the SCA.
The increases in both the nature of the conviction and the sentence were because the higher court found Pistorius should have anticipated that firing shots at the closed bathroom door behind which Steenkamp was cowering could have led to death, even though he claimed he did not know it was her.
What the evidence didn’t show was that this was premeditated and, therefore, the top conviction and sentence were not applicable.
And the release on parole was in accordance with the law – although effectively delayed by about a year.
Whether you believe Pistorius was honest at his trial, or whether he murdered Steenkamp in a fit of rage, is for you to decide and will never affect the judicial course of events.
What is interesting, however, is that, despite all that time behind bars – when Pistorius was, according to the correction authorities, being taken through counselling and courses on anger management and GBV – he is still not considered rehabilitated.
If he was, why would he have to continue undergo courses and counselling while on parole?