Presidency denies Zuma interview


Presidential spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, has denied allegations that President Jacob Zuma granted an interview to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, over the sentencing of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.

Maharaj stated that a journalist from the paper had raised the matter during a media luncheon on Sunday but that Zuma knew nothing about the interview which appeared in the paper on Monday, a day before the athlete's sentencing. 

According to the article, Zuma accused the athlete’s defence team of trying to keep him out of jail because due to his money and disability.

“I’m not sure why that comes into the picture,” the paper reports Zuma as saying.

“They were taking that too far in my view. There are people who are [physically] challenged in prisons; it’s not an issue here. That brings an unfortunate thing, an added thing, because a man has money.

“I thought that was an unfortunate debate. You don’t need it, because there are people who are disabled who are in prison. Why it is raised as if he was the first one to be convicted? I thought they were pushing it too far”.

The paper further claims that Zuma was said to be feeling sorry for Pistroius, whom he described as “a hero in a very special way”, before adding that in his view, the trail had gone smooth and that the ruling was fair.

Zuma is also said to have supported North Gauteng High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa’s ruling, and that the trail has opened up the law system to many South Africans.

“The fact that the judge says he’s acquitted of murder, but on culpable homicide convicted, teaches people I think something in law, that you don’t just say because the life was lost it’s a murder,” Zuma reportedly said.

“The judge was under a bit of criticism, particularly because she’s a woman and women felt that she was not sympathetic to women, but she’s applying the law. So I’m just saying it was an interesting lesson for us.”

Yesterday, Maspia sentenced the Blade Runner to five years in jail after founding him guilty of culpable homicide for shooting his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home on Valentine’s Day last year.

Pistorius’ defence team has indicated that they will not appeal the decision despite having two weeks to do so. He will be carrying out his sentence in the hospital section of the Kgosi Mampuru Central Correctional Facility in Pretoria.