Oscar Pistorius, the convicted ex-Paralympic athlete, has been moved to a new prison ahead of a meeting with the parents of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he murdered in 2013.
The meeting is part of a process that could lead to the 35-year-eventual old’s release on parole. The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has confirmed that the convicted murderer has left the correctional facility in Pretoria for Gqeberha prison in the Eastern Cape which is closer to the Steenkamps’ residence.
After serving half of his 13-year and 5-month sentence, Pistorius may be eligible for parole.
But he must first take part in “restorative justice,” as described by the South African authorities. Offenders are required to speak with their victims or relatives as part of this process. They must also accept responsibility for the harm they have caused, according to the Department of Correctional Services.
Pistorius killed Ms Steenkamp in 2013 saying he mistook her for a burglar at his Pretoria home. He shot four times into a locked toilet door. In 2014, at the conclusion of a trial that was broadcast around the world, he was sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide. However, in 2015, Pistorius was found guilty of murder on appeal, and his sentence was later increased to 13 years and five months.
When the possibility of Pistorius’ release first surfaced earlier this month, Tania Koen, the Steenkamps’ lawyer, told SABC that they “would like to participate in the victim-offender dialogue.”
“June [Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother] has always said that she has forgiven Oscar, however that doesn’t mean that he mustn’t pay for what he has done… Barry [Steenkamp, Reeva’s father] battles with that a bit, but that is something he will have to voice at the appropriate time,” Ms Koen added.
“The wound, even though so much time has passed, is still very raw.”
Nxumalo of the department of correctional service said the looming process is a rather highly sensitive affair. It is also not yet established how long the victim-offender dialogue will take, while Oscar Pistorius is at Gqeberha prison.
“Victim-offender dialogues are sensitive, emotional, and inconsolable; hence they are presided [over] by highly trained officials who ought to ensure that all parties derive value from the process. DCS is unable to pre-empt the timeframe as this will be guided by the level of preparedness by all participants.”