South Africa’s most infamous murderer will linger longer in jail. If he gets parole in 2024, Oscar Pistorius will find he’s still severely restricted.

30 March 2023 By Paul Martin

By Paul Martin.

(Photos copyright Correspondent.World)

South Africa’s ‘Correctional Services’ (formerly Prisons) authorities intend to transfer Oscar Pistorius from his current jail near Pretoria to another facility, now that he has been ordered to say in prison for at least another year.

Meanwhile he will be moved to a wing that has already been improved so that, later this year, the facility  can be converted into a women-only prison.

Correspondent.World was recently given an exclusive tour of the facility that has been built for the women — and which will also, separately, accommodate Pistorius. 

Message in the sands: at a beach in Port Elizabeth, on the 10th anniversary of Reeva Steenkamp’s murder

It was in the early hours of Valentine’s Day ten years ago that Reeva Steenkamp, then 29, cowering  in a toilet adjacent to the couple’s bedroom, was shot dead by the world-famous Paralympic and Olympic athlete, nicknamed the ‘Blade Runner’ for his carbon-fibre prosthetic legs.

He will be transferred soon from Atteridgeville Prison to make way for the women, and may serve the rest of his sentence in the most notorious prison in the country – known  previously as Pretoria Central. 

Prisoners on death row were held here – until the newly democratic South Africa’s constitutional court declared the death-penalty illegal in the mid-‘90s.

The Governor of Atteridgeville prison, Advocate Patricia Masinga, told Correspondent.World during an exclusive tour of the buildings that whatever happened this will be his last couple of months for Pistorius in the jail. 

Another government official said Pistorius was acting as a model prisoner but added: “You can never tell if a prisoner is just putting on an act until he is released. Much depends on how much he’s been concealing his true feelings and whether he has worked through them.”

A leading South African criminologist said the current system was stacked in favour of the offender rather than giving sufficient weight to the victim’s family. That’s because, he said, the parole board does not have much communication with victims’ families while its staff focus on building a relationship with the prisoner. 

“Also, there is a sort of culture in this country of somehow blaming the victim for being attacked, rather than putting the blame entirely on the attacker,“ he said. 

That attitude, he said, is a factor in why there are so many attacks on women by male partners or husbands – who know that, even if convicted, they are unlikely to serve long jail terms. 

On parole, Pistorius would likely be restricted to the Gauteng province that includes Pretoria and Johannesburg.  These parole conditions, the lawyers explained, would be similar to those imposed on the man who killed top African National Congress official Chris Hani in the fraught years between Nelson Mandela’s release and his coming to power four years later.   (Mr Knight had also represented him in parole hearings.)

Should Pistorius be released on parole, he will have served nearly seven years in jail after a 13 and a half year sentence for murder.

The parents of Reeva Steenkamp have told Correspondent.World that they will continue to oppose Pistorius’s release – because when her father Barry met Pistorius late last year in a tear-filled hall-hour prison encounter the former athlete still refused to admit he deliberately killed their daughter.  

When a new parole hearing takes place in August next year, Lancashire-born June Steenkamp will be invited again to give evidence about the impact her daughter’s murder made on herself and her husband Barry.

She was about to do so when the parole hearing was abruptly ended by a Supreme Court ruling that made Pistorius ineligible for parole. The Supreme Court said recalculated and declared that a new sentence imposed on him had to be added to a previous sentence, so that Pistorius had not yet served half of the term of imprisonment, the earliest a prisoner is able to seek parole. That would only be valid in 2024, the court ruled.

Outside the parole hearing Mrs Steenkamp said it was “very very hard to be in the same room as him”. The Steenkamps’ lawyer Tania Koen said: “These two people are suffering a life sentence of pain and grief.” She said the Steenkamps wanted the former athlete to “come clean”.


June Steenkamp prepares to throw red roses into the sea, at the spot where she had cast the ashes of her daughter into the Indian Ocean. Valentines Day 2023 marked precisely ten years since the murder. Exclusive photo and copyright: Paul Martin / Correspondent.World 

Pistorius has repeatedly claimed he thought he was shooting a night-time intruder through the toilet door.

Legal experts say Pistorius may also be refusing to admit shooting his girlfriend knowing she was in the toilet, to avoid a legal suit for damages by the Steenkamp family. They had been reliant on Reeva, a very successful model, for financial support.

The Steenkamps had been offered some financial compensation by Pistorius‘s lawyers in the early stages of his imprisonment, supposedly as a way of avoiding civil legal action. The Steenkamps admit they did negotiate (“because we were skint”, June later told a South African TV channel), but they later dropped the talks.

The Steenkamps have also sold their story over the years to television companies.

At a Valentine’s Day ceremony this February 14, Correspondent.World watched as June cast flowers into the sea, and close friends sang one of Reeva’s favourite songs.  They also cast the ashes of a recently-deceased friend and supporter of June into the Indian Ocean.

Poignantly, the ceremony took place at the same beach where the family had scattered the ashes of their dead daughter more than nine years ago. Family members and a few close friends attended. 

The Steenkamps’ devoted lawyer Tania Koen says the Steenkamps, now in their late 70s, are suffering from a form of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and are ‘not in a good place’. 

The Steenkamps own two huge dogs.  A pen for horses is visible behind a security fence. 

They live close to a racecourse where Barry had run a successful racing stable.

Even after Barry’s retirement the Steenkamps had a reasonable income.  Barry bought a pub — and labelled the male and female toilets as Colts and Fillies. Pictures of racehorses also adorned the walls. The new owner told Correspondent.World that after he purchased the pub he had unscrewed the toilet door panels and donated them back to ‘Uncle Barry’.

Correspondent.World has seen the conditions under which Pistorius has been living in Atteridgeville prison.

Pistorius remains muscular and fit.  He has been seen driving a red tractor in fields around the prison, being trained to plough a straight furrow by a female prison officer. The produce of the agriculture, including cauliflower, is then either consumed by fellow-prisoners or is sold to help feed poverty-stricken schoolchildren, the prison Governor and colleagues told Correspondent.World.   

It is reported that Pistorius was allocated a vegetable patch that he artistically shaped into a face, using different colours and types of produce.

There are about 250 prisoners left, occupying only one wing, in a jail designed for over 600.

There is an irony in the new plans for the prison now holding Pistorius.  A substantial number of the women who would fill the prison when all its inmates are female will have been convicted of murdering their male partners. 

Experts told Correspondent.World that these women had usually killed their partners after months or years of provocation, violence, threats and abuse.  South African courts usually showed these desperate women very little sympathy, said a leading criminologist who asked not to be named.