Former South African Paralympic champion, Oscar Pistorius could be considered for parole, having served half his 13-year sentence for murder of girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp provided he is prepared to attend a restorative justice programme.
Pistorius is eligible for possible release but first has to take part in a programme that will bring him face-to-face with the parents of his victim, take responsibility for his crime and apologise.
In a statement, South Africa’s department of correctional services said it was talking to the Steenkamp family about a possible meeting.
Outlining what needs to happen before parole is considered, the statement says that offenders must “acknowledge and take responsibility for their actions”.
As part of the restorative justice process there has to be “an opportunity for parties to reconcile or an apology”.
Tania Koen, lawyer to the Steenkamp family said the family 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 while Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s Dad struggles 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.”
Being eligible for parole is not the same as being entitled to it and so it is not a forgone conclusion that he will be released, the lawyer said. The authorities will also have to consider a number of reports written by prison officials as well as other professionals.
It was widely believed the meeting would not be until March 2023.