Uncertainty looms over Pistorius's parole

Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in 2013.

FILE: Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court in Pretoria on 21 October 2014. Picture: Pool.

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News understands it could be weeks and possibly months before Oscar Pistorius is released from prison under correctional supervision.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha announced on Wednesday that he has referred the parole board's decision to release him on Friday for review saying the decision was premature and not legally supported.

A panel of three judges will now be tasked with deciding whether the decision to grant Pistorius parole was legitimate.

The athlete is serving a five year sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013.

Reports have suggested that it will take anything between two weeks to several months to constitute and convene a review panel to take a look at Pistorius's case.

However, BDK attorneys' Ulrich Roux says because of the logistics involved, it's likely to be some time before the matter is heard.

"They need to put together the whole review first. It comprises of three judges and a number of attorneys and a whole panel of people. They must then convene and make an informed decision."

The athlete's legal team could however launch an urgent application to have Masutha's decision set aside - but they have not responded to questions concerning this.


Meanwhile, the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa (PMWSA) has described the decision to review Pistorius's release under correctional supervision as a 'blessing in disguise', and said it will call on the justice minister to investigate decisions made by the parole board over the past year.

PMWSA's Jackie Mofokeng, who regularly attended the Oscar Pistorius trial, says she will send a letter to the speaker of parliament requesting the portfolio committee on correctional services to investigate the parole process.

Mofokeng said the justice minister's decision on the athlete's release may bring some relief to Steenkamp's parents.

"June [Steenkamp] was not happy that Oscar should be out in 10 months, even if she knew very well that it's the rule of law."

According to Mofokeng, the only suitable sentence for Pistorius is 10 to 15 years without the possibility of parole.

WATCH: Jacqui Mofokeng on Pistorius.


At the same time, Steenkamp's family says they didn't welcome the decision delaying Paralympic athlete's release on parole nor do they feel any relief at the news.

A panel of three judges will now be tasked with deciding whether the decision to grant Pistorius parole was legitimate.

June and Barry Steenkamp were surprised by the announcement, but their lawyer Tania Koen said they did not necessarily welcome the decision.

"They don't have any feelings of revenge towards Pistorius, but in general they just feel that for somebody that committed a crime such as this, by taking someone's life, 10 months is not enough. They're not happy about the decision."

Koen said the Steenkamps' focus was on their daughter and not Pistorius.

The family spent the day at Summerstrand Beach in Port Elizabeth yesterday, marking what would have been the late model's thirty-second birthday.

To read a full statement on Pistorius's parole review from the Justice Department, click here.