Review board convenes over Pistorius, one step closer to parole decision

Oscar Pistorius is serving a 5-year jail term for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013.

Oscar Pistorius leaves the High Court in Pretoria on 14 April 2014. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The parole board review panel is expected to convene on Monday to consider Oscar Pistorius's placement under correctional supervision.

The panel was supposed to have made a decision three weeks ago, but because of a high case load was unable to consider the Pistorius matter.

In August, Justice Minister Michael Masutha referred the decision to release the athlete for review after he established that the decision had been taken prematurely. The minister was approached by the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa after the group launched a petition against the initial decision, asking why the Blade Runner was due for release during Women's Month.

Pistorius is serving a five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day two years ago.

The parole review board, which includes three judges, will now decide whether Pistorius should be released under correctional supervision.

Several weeks ago, Masutha said that in terms of the law, the parole board should only have considered the offender for release after he had served a sixth of his sentence, which meant he was considered for release prematurely.

It's now understood that even if the panel makes a decision in the former athlete's favour on Monday, it could still be weeks before he is released from prison because of an administrative process that would have to take place.

However, if the state is successful during its Supreme Court of Appeal hearing just three weeks from now, it could mean Pistorius will spend a significantly longer time behind bars.

The National Prosecuting Authority wants Pistorius to be found guilty of murder, and not culpable homicide has ajudged by Judge Thokozile Masipa.