Charities are ‘a marketing tool for sports stars like Oscar’

2014-10-14 10:38

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Businesses and sports stars like Oscar Pistorius become involved with charities to market themselves, the North Gauteng High Court has heard.

“For sportsmen to be involved in charities, that’s not peculiar to Mr Pistorius?” prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Pistorius’ agent Petrus van Zyl during sentencing proceedings today.

“That’s correct,” Van Zyl replied.

Nel was cross-examining Van Zyl, who yesterday listed for the defence the charities and brands Pistorius had been involved with during his athletics career.

“It’s merely an advancement of your career to be involved,” said Nel.

“One can look at it like that,” replied Van Zyl in a clear, confident voice.

Asked to explain what his work as an agent involved, Van Zyl listed securing competitions, “maximising income potential” with sponsorships and endorsements, and taking care of their tax affairs and investments.

On September 12 Pistorius was found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend, model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp, but not guilty of her murder.

Pistorius made a low-key arrival earlier, unlike yesterday where he was accompanied by police officers.

He caught the media waiting outside the court off-guard.

“So when did he stop? How did he just zoom past?” a photographer asked.

The Paralympian walked into the court room by himself. He smiled as he spoke to his lawyer Brian Webber.

His psychologist Löre Hartzenberg, who testified on Monday, gave Pistorius a hug.

In court were Pistorius’ siblings Aimee and Carl, his father Henke, ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor and her mother Patricia, and his friend, businessperson Kenny Kunene.

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents Barry and June, her Johannesburg “family” the Myers and former football player Marc Batchelor were also in attendance.

Earlier a man carrying a noose stood outside the court. He did not want to give his name, but said he was there to highlight the country’s justice system.

“The death penalty was in South Africa for a long time,” he said.

“The justice system must give harsher sentences. That’s the bottom line,” he said before leaving.

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