'Oscar must face justice'
Women's Minister Lulu Xingwana has called for the ‘toughest sentences’ for Oscar Pistorius.
PRETORIA - Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana says she wants to see the courts dish out the strongest possible sentence against Oscar Pistorius and to ensure he doesn't flee justice.
The athlete briefly appeared in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Monday where he was formally served with an indictment for his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp's death, which the State alleges was murder.
His case was also transferred to the North Gauteng High Court for trial next March.
Xingwana was at the court, saying she was there to represent the Steenkamp family.
"We are here on their behalf. They have said that they would like to hear the truth."
She spoke strongly about her hopes for the case against Pistorius.
"We are saying to the courts: we want to see the toughest sentences and we also want to make sure that the accused does not run away."
She also said the provincial government in the family's home province of the Eastern Cape has visited them to offer support.
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it's confident the trial will start in March as scheduled.
The NPA's Medupi Simasiku says the 107 witnesses named in the indictment revealed on Monday will assist with the trial.
"Everyone has complied with us and we believe that the whole trial will run smoothly as and when they are called. We do intend calling all of them."
He said the NPA was confident the case would run smoothly.
"In as far as the strengths, let the court decide on that because we'll be presenting our evidence and if it's enough for the court to rule in our favour, then that will be right."
It also emerged that the State will attack Pistorius's claim of a case of mistaken identity in his explanation for killing his girlfriend.
Pistorius insists he mistook her for an intruder when he shot her on Valentine's Day.
The athlete's court appearance coincided with what would have been Steenkamp's 30th birthday.
Steenkamp's name has been trending on Twitter throughout the day with many users dedicating tweets to her.
EWN's Mandy Wiener & Barry Bateman unpack today's proceedings: