Over a decade has passed since the tragic incident that took the life of Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old South African model. On February 14, 2013, while spending Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend, she was fatally shot in what would become the world’s biggest love-murder trial since the O.J Simpson case in the early 1990s.
On Friday, January 5, 2024, the Department of Correctional Services announced that Oscar Pistorius, 37, who was convicted of Steenkamp’s brutal murder, would finally be released on parole after serving nearly half of his jail term.
“The Department of Correctional Services is able to confirm that Oscar Pistorius is a parolee, effective from 5 January 2024. He was admitted into the system of Community Corrections and is now at home,” said department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo.
Pistorius, widely recognized as the “Blade Runner” for his exceptional paralympian talents, was taken into custody and faced charges for the alleged murder of Steenkamp.
The trial showcased the emergence of legal experts as the global audience was introduced to tenacious prosecutor Gerrie Nel and no-nonsense defense lawyer Advocate Barry Roux.
Law students were able to access free lessons on challenging legal concepts like dolus eventualis and dolus directus through their television screens.
The distinction between these two terms was crucial for determining Pistorius’ future. His fate hung in the balance, teetering between freedom and confinement.
In the beginning, Judge Thokozile Masipa determined that Pistorius had accidentally killed his girlfriend, under the belief that she was an intruder hiding in a bathroom at his Pretoria residence.
Masipa’s ruling stated that Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, indicating that he acted negligently when he fired the shots, without any intention to cause the death of the person behind the bathroom door.
Nevertheless, after an appeal of the court ruling, the state’s argument that Pistorius intentionally fired the four shots was upheld, leading Masipa to convict him of murder and sentence him to 13 years of direct imprisonment.
After a prolonged wait, his parole bid was eventually granted by the Department of Correctional Services.
There has been a range of opinions from the broader public regarding the latest developments.
Surprising backing for Pistorius’s parole release came from the outspoken NotInMyName, an organization dedicated to denouncing gender-based violence.
“NOTINMYNAME INTERNATIONAL welcomes the decision by the Department of Correctional Services to place Mr Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius on parole, effectively from 5 January 2024. Mr Pistorius was initially convicted of culpable homicide in 2014, but the case went through a number of appeals and was eventually ratified to 13 years and five months in 2017.
“The parole placement decision was taken by the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board, having assessed Mr Pistorius’ profile and other material submitted for the purposes of parole consideration. Classified as a first time offender with a positive support system, Oscar Pistorius’ parole placement is in line with Section 73 of the Correctional Services Act. Parole placement forms part of the total rehabilitation programme in correcting offending behavior and may include continuation of programmes aimed at reintegration whilst in the system of community corrections,” stated Themba Masango, the secretary-general of the NGO.