South Africa: Pretoria residents react to news of Oscar Pistorius release from jail

People in the South African capital Pretoria gave mixed reaction on Friday to the news that former Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius was released from prison on parole earlier today.

Pistorius, who served nearly nine years for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, was believed to be at his uncle’s mansion after authorities secretly moved him at an undisclosed time to avoid the glare of news crews waiting outside the jail.

Residents in Pretoria, where Pistorius will reside for the duration of his parole, felt that the world-famous double-amputee athlete deserved to be released as he had served his time for the murder.

“Oscar’s parole is something that is not bad. Nobody is perfect. He did make a mistake, he served and I think it is high time he comes back to the community,” said local resident Thapelo Rakhoale.

“I hope to see him one day back on the road running again and being one of my favorites… I know he killed someone, but we don’t know what was his intentions,” another resident said.

South Africa’s Department of Corrections announced in a two-sentence statement at around 8:30 a.m. that Pistorius had been released and was “now at home.” It gave no more details other than to confirm Pistorius’ new status as “a parolee.”

Pistorius, 37, served nearly nine years of his murder sentence of 13 years and five months for the fatal shooting of model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.

He became eligible for early release from prison having served at least half his sentence and was approved for parole in November.

Department of Corrections spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo told The Associated Press that Pistorius was processed according to procedure: taken from the Atteridgeville Correctional Center prison in the South African capital, Pretoria, to a parole office before being released to his family. Nxumalo declined to say what time Pistorius was released and where he was.

Pistorius will live under strict parole conditions until the remainder of his murder sentence expires in December 2029.