Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea

Journalist


South Africans divided on Oscar’s parole

Some are celebrating the decision, saying he served his time and others note that a family is left with a big hole in their hearts.


Oscar Pistorius’ parole has left South Africans with mixed emotions.

Some are celebrating the decision, saying he served his time and others note that while he will be picking up the pieces, a family is left with a big hole in their hearts and “their future”, as Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, said in her emotional victim impact statement.

Pistorius was granted parole in Atteridgeville yesterday, after a total of eight years behind bars for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, model Steenkamp.

ALSO READ: Valentine’s Day killer Oscar Pistorius granted parole

The department of correctional services confirmed the parole board’s decision and noted he would be released on 5 January. There’s a process that needs to be followed before then to prepare him.

The department said his parole would run until 2029, with the conditions that he would have to attend therapy and do community service, and he cannot leave the magisterial district of Waterkloof.

According to gender-based violence activist and researcher Shirley Louw, no amount of time spent in prison could bring back Steenkamp or heal the family.

WATCH: Steenkamp family pen heartbreaking statement as Oscar Pistorius faces parole board

“The only thing that can make a difference is if the family believe he’s remorseful about it. “He has to be integrated back into society at some point and I think after so many years, the time is now,” she added.

Steenkamp’s family spokesperson Rob Matthews said Pistorius would have to attend therapy for anger issues as part of his parole conditions.

“He’ll be required to attend therapy to address his anger issues and he’ll have to do community service and therapy [for] his gender-based violence issues.”

According to Steenkamp’s victim impact statement, read before the parole board by Matthews, her husband Barry’s recent death was due to a broken heart.

Not opposing parole

“No parent should have to bury a child and most certainly not in the circumstances that prevailed in the demise of Reeva.” Steenkamp said she still did not believe Pistorius’ version, that he shot her daughter believing she was an intruder, but she did not oppose his parole.

Steenkamp’s family lawyer Tania Koen told Saturday Citizen the family would not lodge an formal objection to parole, but did submit the impact statement for the board’s consideration.

South Africans gave their opinions on social media with some even comparing the case to that of Uyajola 9/9 presenter and rapper Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye.

He had been integrated back into society. “Why keep him [Pistorius] until January? It’s not fair they must release him like they did with [former president Jacob] Zuma this is all nonsense,” Bahumi Marumo said on X.

ALSO READ: Oscar Pistorius has been eligible for parole since March

Nqobile Zungu said: “Shame man. I was thinking about him the other day. Nothing will ever bring Reeva back, but I hope he can get a fresh start. The entire situation is hectic and perhaps it’s time for healing.”

Charles Smithies wrote: “I disagree. Murder remains a vile crime, and I am of the opinion that the guilty party must serve life imprisonment. None of them deserve parole for taking a life.”