“All I can say is that the programs that were contained in his correctional sentence plan were all completed,” Department of Corrections spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo told reporters on Friday ahead of the parole hearing.
Pistorius testified at his murder trial that he killed Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was an intruder who was hiding in his bathroom in the middle of the night. He had fired four times through the door with his licensed 9mm pistol.
Prosecutors argued that Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and reality TV star, had fled to the toilet cubicle during a late-night argument and Pistorius had killed her in a rage.
Pistorius was eventually convicted of murder on a legal principle known as dolus eventualis, which means he acted with extreme recklessness and should have known that whoever was behind the door would likely be killed. It’s comparable to third-degree murder.
Outside the prison where the parole hearing was heard, Rob Matthews, a Steenkamp family friend whose 21-year-old daughter was murdered in 2004, read out a statement from June Steenkamp in which she said she was not opposing his parole.
She did not attend the hearing because “I simply cannot muster the energy to face him again at this stage,” the statement read.
Nevertheless, “I do not believe Oscar’s version that he thought the person in the toilet was a burglar,” June Steenkamp said.
“In fact, I do not know anybody who does. My dearest child screamed for her life … I believe he knew it was Reeva.”
Steenkamp’s father, Barry Steenkamp, died in September.
When released, Pistorius is expected to live at his uncle’s luxurious Pretoria mansion, where he stayed during his murder trial.