Reeva Steenkamp’s mother opens up on Oscar Pistorius parole

Following convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius’s official release on parole on Friday, Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, said the pain of her daughter’s murder “is still raw and real”.

The department of correctional services (DCS) confirmed on Friday that Pistorius was at home.

In a media statement released on Friday, Steenkamp opened up about how she felt after Pistorius was officially released on parole on the day. He was released from the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre in Pretoria.

Statement thanks media and all who supported her family 

The media statement was signed off by Steenkamp on behalf of herself and her late husband and father to Reeva, Barry. 

“14 February 2013. The day life changed forever. The day South Africa lost its hero, Oscar Pistorius. And the day Barry and I lost our daughter, Reeva, at Oscar’s hands.

“Now, almost 11 years later, the pain is still raw and real. And my dear late husband Barry and I have never been able to come to terms with Reeva’s death, or the way she died.

“Through the years Barry and I were encouraged by the love and messages of support from both friends and strangers. I wish I could thank each one personally for carrying Barry and I through these difficult years.

“Part of Barry and my daily conversations were always flooded [with] the sorrow we felt for the parents and families of victims whose perpetrators were not brought to book. Our thoughts remained with them as they were denied any form of closure and the [names] of their loved ones never recognised or honoured,” said Steenkamp.

Huge  cross to bear

“It made us feel guilty to an extent. But at the same time the trauma of re-living and re-telling our story has been a huge cross for us to bear. Whilst we remain grateful to the media, the intensity of the coverage of Osca’s trial, imprisonment and parole has been a double-edged sword.

“The media interest meant the loss of our privacy and made it difficult to mourn in peace. Sadly, reports were often accompanied by verbal and emotional abuse by some members of the public. [This was] not only towards us, but also towards our deceased daughter. It is my sincere wish, and it was Barry’s too, that people will take a moment to consider the impact of their hurtful comments. We did not choose this. We would much rather have our loving daughter alive, and laughing, with us,” said Steenkamp.

Department confirms parole, says Pistorius is at home

Department of Correctional Services (DCS) spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo officially announced Pistorius’ being a free man. He released a media statement on Friday.

“The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is able to confirm that Oscar Pistorius is a parolee, effectively from 5 January 2024. He was admitted into the system of Community Corrections and is now at home.”

Parole restrictions and conditions

The department said the general parole conditions will apply to Pistorius. Pistorius will be expected to be home at particular hours of the day. He may not consume alcohol and other prohibited substances until the end of his sentence in 2029. Just like other parolees, Pistorius is restricted from conducting media interviews.

In her statement, Steenkamp lauded the parole conditions imposed on Pistorius such as anger management courses and programmes on gender-based violence. She said these “send out a clear message that gender-based violence is taken seriously”.

“We have always known that parole is part of the South African legal system, and we have always said that the law must take its course. Oscar Pistorius’s release on parole, subject to certain conditions, has affirmed Barry’s and my belief in the South African justice system. The conditions imposed by the parole board send out a clear message that gender-based violence is taken seriously …  [These] includes anger management courses and programs on gender-based violence,,” said Steenkamp.

‘My focus now is to live my last years in peace’

“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. With the release of Oscar Pistorius on parole, my only desire is that I will be allowed to live my last years in peace. With my focus remaining on the Reeva Steenkamp Foundation, to continue Reeva’s legacy.

“Lastly, I again want to thank the public who supported me through the years. The media and all the friends who stood by Barry and me. A special thank you to Advocate Gerrie Nel, Advocate Andrea Johnson, Advcoate Dup de Bruin. The investigating team, Advocate Annade-Theart Hofmeyer, my daughter Simone. And Tania Kone, who has guided and protected Barry and I through the years,” said Steenkamp.

Also Read: Oscar Pistorius granted parole at last after several failed attempts

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