No Justice in South Africa or for Reeva Steenkamp and her Family

Oscar Pistorius took the world by storm, given his disability that did not prevent him from actively participating in sports. He even competed against non-disabled athletes and did remarkably well. However, behind that effort was a man who murdered his girlfriend, lied about it, never showed remorse, and is now being paroled.

Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in 2013 in a disturbing manner. The poor girl was never given a chance. The parents looked at Pistorius in court as he played the victim who shot his girlfriend by accident. Mr Pistorius did not receive the punishment he deserved, and now he is being paroled.

Convicted on dolus eventualis, literally a third-degree murder, and sentenced to just under 14 years was an insult to the family of Reeva. To even imagine that in less than two months, Mr Pistorius will walk out of prison after being paroled is a disgrace to the South African justice system. On the 4th of January 2024, Oscar Pistorius will leave prison as a free man.

R. Kelly, as disgusting as he is, murdered no one, but he got over 20 years in prison. Is Pistorius a lesser criminal than R. Kelly? What can constitute a crime in country A may not be in country B, or the gravity of crime A may be far lower in country B. Let us see what the “blade runner” will do when he is released from Atteridgeville Correctional Centre in Pretoria.

In March, Pistorius had his request for parole rejected by a parole board; the board noted that his timing was wrong, although officials had admitted that he had a right to apply for parole, having served half of his time in prison. However, confusion stemmed from his jail term being frequently interrupted by his legal team’s frequent appeals and his house arrest in between, which created confusion on where to draw the halfway line. However, recent news confirms that the Pistorius legal team has crossed that hurdle. One cannot help but imagine how the Steenkamp family would feel. They had welcomed the earlier parole rejection only to be greeted with a subsequent approval. They must feel undone by the justice system.

The Pistorius case has raised many questions about South Africa’s justice system. One man in America received 20 years for sexual intercourse with underage girls, some of whom were 16, while another in South Africa received 13 years for killing his girlfriend. While we understand that the judicial systems in both countries differ because no two countries have the same laws, one cannot help but wonder if the legal system in South Africa would have been so kind to R. Kelly were the roles switched.


By Ikechukwu ORJI

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