Disappointment at decision to release Oscar

OCTOBER 16, 2015

While it is disappointing that Reeva Steenkamp’s killer Oscar Pistorius is being released from jail, he will hopefully emerge a better man, three women's rights organisations said on Thursday.

"We are hoping that he will come out a better person who will advocate for women’s issues. There must be no favours for him," ANC Women’s League spokesperson Thoko Xasawe said.

Correctional services said on Thursday that Pistorius would be released into correctional supervision next Tuesday.

Sonke Gender Justice spokesperson Mbuyiselo Botha hoped Pistorius had used his time in jail to reflect on his actions and learnt to deal with his anger.

He said anger management programmes run in jail did work in some instances, especially if the offender was committed to changing.

Both organisations and the Progressive Women’s Movement of SA (PWMSA) were not happy that he was being released into correctional supervision after only 10 months in jail. All three however said they respected the law and legal process.

PWMSA convenor Jacqui Mofokeng said they were looking forward to November 3, when the State would ask the Supreme Court of Appeal to set aside Pistorius’s conviction on culpable homicide. It wanted him convicted of the more serious charge of murder, which carried a heavier sentence.

Mofokeng said they were pleased Justice Minister Michael Masutha blocked his release in August, following a petition from the organisation.

He said the parole board acted prematurely when it decided in June that he could be released in August, which was before he had served out one-sixth, or 10 months, of his five-year sentence for killing Steenkamp.

The ANCWL called for a review of parole boards to avoid a repeat of what Xasawe said was a mistake - the decision to release Pistorius on August 21.

Xasawe said the league was continuing to support the Steenkamp family.

"Our hearts are with the family," she said.

The Steenkamps' lawyer Tania Koen said they were not surprised by the decision to release Pistorius. The family had been expecting it, and it did not change anything for them as Reeva was still gone.

---News24wire