No whales for Oscar

2013-08-18 14:00

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He visited Hermanus for a ‘break’ before his court appearance

Oscar Pistorius eased his tender nerves during a seaside jaunt in the run-up to his court appearance tomorrow.

The athlete escaped what his uncle Arnold described as the “jail he’s been living in” to go kayaking and enjoy meals with friends in the coastal town of Hermanus last weekend.

Pistorius let off steam a week ahead of his scheduled appearance at the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court, which is likely to be packed once again with journalists from across the globe.

It is expected that the paralympic athlete will be served an indictment, and that the matter will be postponed.

On Tuesday, the police announced that they have finished their investigation into model Reeva Steenkamp’s death at Pistorius’ house in February.

The Paralympian star tried to slip under the radar in Hermanus – a Western Cape town famous for whale watching – but was spotted by locals, who divulged details in hushed tones.

Last Saturday, the star hid behind sunglasses and a beanie while tucking into a meal at Tapas, a trendy eatery overlooking the old harbour in the heart of the town.

Tapas serves delicacies including wild Cape rock oysters on crushed ice at R20 each and grilled aubergine for R57. The restaurant’s mantra is “to eat, drink and be merry”.

Pistorius visited the owner of Tapas, Rick Oosthuyzen, whose son Leroy is dating the athlete’s sister Aimee. “Oscar just needed to get away from it all,” said a Hermanus resident who did not want to be named.

“He chilled with Leroy and friends at Tapas on Saturday, and Leroy went back to Jozi with him in the week.”

The restaurant where Oscar had a meal. Picture: Kevin Petersen

Leroy Oosthuyzen works at Investec Bank in Joburg. Aimee is an assistant lecturer at the University of Pretoria.

Aimee burst into tears at Pistorius’ first court appearance days after the shooting in February. She was there with her father Henke, her brother Carl and their uncle Arnold.

This week, Arnold Pistorius said his nephew went to Hermanus “to take a break from the jail he’s living in”.

Pistorius did not see any whales on a kayaking trip that left from the town’s old harbour on Sunday. Herman de Vries of Walker Bay Adventures said: “His group was unlucky, they didn’t see any whales. There were the usual seals and sea birds, though.”

De Vries declined to elaborate on the athlete’s demeanour: “I was very surprised to see him. But he’s just another paying customer and I really can’t elaborate, you know.”

Reeva Steenkamp would have turned 30 tomorrow.

This week, Steenkamp’s cousin, Kim Martin, who lives in Cape Town, said the family had decided not to grant interviews at this painful time.

Martin met Pistorius over lunch at the Ons Huisie beachfront restaurant in Bloubergstrand just a month before the shooting.

“At the time, Reeva said she had something important to tell me ... But well, she never got round to it,” Martin said.

Pistorius’ spokesperson, Anneliese Burgess, said tomorrow would be a “very difficult and dreadful” day for the athlete and his family. She said they did not want to comment at present.

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