Oscar’s absent father

2014-03-16 14:00

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Henke Pistorius is in town but not in court.

As Oscar Pistorius retched in the dock this week, agonised by details of the fatal injuries he inflicted on his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, there was one question on everyone’s lips: where was his father?

Although Henke Pistorius was there for his son during his bail application last February, he has yet to make an appearance in the public gallery during the murder trial, which is now heading into its third week.

And while his 27-year-old athlete son is being represented by top Advocate Barry Roux, who charges R50?000 a day, Henke Pistorius (60) is sitting with a judgment of R50?000 against him after one of his companies failed to pay its creditors.

“We are struggling to find him,” said John Bell, the chief operating officer of finance and legal services for Flotank Transport, a trucking company in Douglas, Northern Cape, which obtained the judgment against Pistorius.

The order was issued against Henke in Port Elizabeth last year after his mining company, SA Lime Pedi, failed to pay a creditor.

That was a few months after Oscar’s bail application at which his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, gave the court R900?000 in guarantees.

A source at Flotank said Henke had bought products from them but stopped paying them in April last year.

He has also stopped using their products.

“We were obliged to take legal action against him and put him on the blacklist,” the source said.

Henke is the director of 11 active companies from Pretoria to Eastern Cape. Most specialise in property.

SA Lime Pedi is based in Colbyn, Pretoria. An employee told City Press’ sister newspaper Rapport the company is not run by Henke, but by his brother, Leo Pistorius.

On his LinkedIn profile, Henke says he is a sustainability consultant at African Business Communities, a company with its head office in Haarlem in the Netherlands, and that he lives in the coastal town of Port Alfred in Eastern Cape.

“Henke is in Pretoria, but I don’t know exactly where,” said the source at the company.

Henke Pistorius declined to comment on why he has been conspicuously absent from court, even though he has been in Pretoria.

He said the family had decided that all comment would be made by their spokesperson Anneliese Burgess.

All Henke would say was: “I will go around there at the end of the case.”

In March last year after the bail application, Henke caused the family some embarrassment by blaming the ANC government for Steenkamp’s death at his son’s hands.

He told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper the high crime rate in the country meant his son was forced to arm himself.

“Some of the guns are for hunting and some are for protection – the handguns.”

“It speaks to the ANC government, look at white crime levels, why protection is so poor in this country, it’s an aspect of our society.”

The relationship between Henke and the rest of his family is clearly troubled. He was also not spotted on holiday with the rest of the Pistorius clan in Mozambique in December.

Close family members say he was always the black sheep, and when his father, the lime king Hendrik Pistorius sold some businesses, he apparently gave less to Henke than his other children.

“That’s where the problems started between them,” the relative said.

After Oscar’s legs were amputated when he was a very young child, Henke’s relationship with his wife, Sheila, deteriorated. “Henke never really gave any attention to Oscar.

“After Sheila’s death, he inherited money somewhere, which he spent on foreign trips and on women,” another family member said.

“That’s when Arnold took care of the children. Henke was an uninterested and bombastic father.”

Meanwhile, Henke’s acquaintances in Port Alfred told City Press he is a “party animal” with an eye for young women. An elderly man who said he often met Henke at the bar in Ferryman’s Hotel said: “He is noisy after a couple of drinks and has a short temper.”

Burgess, who was asked for comment and was sent a list of questions, responded: “The Pistorius family seriously objects to the way cheap gossip is elevated to so-called journalistic questions.

“These questions are of a highly personal nature and have no bearing on the case. They are an invasion of the family’s privacy. We strongly recommend that City Press should make sure that the facts are accurate.”

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