R500 000 for an interview with Reeva Steenkamp’s parents

2014-02-23 14:00

It’s big money for big news as the world’s gaze comes to rest on Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial in just over a week.

International news networks – which are sending scores of journalists and TV crews to Pretoria for the start of the trial in the North Gauteng High Court in eight days’ time – have been paying a small fortune for interviews with key players in the case.

International media sources have told City Press that British TV station Channel 5 paid the parents of Pistorius’ slain girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp R500?000 for an exclusive interview they aired last year.

In the interview, which the channel punted as a world exclusive, the Steenkamps spoke of how Reeva’s death had destroyed their lives, why they had feared for her safety, and what sort of arguments she had told them she had had with her famous boyfriend.

They also showed letters and photographs, as well as a painting Reeva had done of a gun-wielding man and an apparent stairway to heaven – which they believed was a premonition.

The R500?000 was, City Press was told, the going rate for an interview with Barry and June Steenkamp who have been struggling financially since their daughter’s death.

The same international media sources said local news magazines You and Huisgenoot paid the same amount for an interview with the Steenkamps, as well as an additional amount for family photographs.

You magazine editor Linda Pietersen declined to comment yesterday.

“We don’t discuss our deals because every deal is done differently. But some of the things people say we pay for we haven’t paid for,” she said.

The man who is negotiating the Steenkamps’ media deals is Port Elizabeth-based advocate Dup de Bruyn.

De Bruyn insists that the Steenkamps won’t speak unless substantial sums of money are paid upfront.

“We have to remember that the Steenkamps have to relive the trauma of Reeva’s death over and over again,” he told City Press.

June and Barry Steenkamp have fallen on hard times since the death of the daughter who used to support them. Several sources say that the family believes it’s unfair that the media continues to profit from her death at their expense.

Local newspapers are also cashing in on the action.

Port Elizabeth Saturday paper, Weekend Post, has an 2009 audio interview with Pistorius who spoke of his terrifying but short stint in a Dutch jail seven years ago after gunshot residue was found on his prosthetic legs and picked up by sensors at the airport in Amsterdam. He had apparently been to a shooting range.

After running the story last week, the newspaper has since taken it off its website and the clip is now on sale to international media.

For international networks, interviews with key players in the case have been almost impossible to come by with Pistorius’ friends – including luxury car dealer Justin Devaris and his girlfriend Samantha Greyvenstein – declining interviews.

Many of Pistorius’ friends are on the witness list and have been instructed by the prosecutors to speak to no-one.

Aside from money from media interviews, Reeva’s parents are also seeking compensation from Oscar Pistorius for loss of income and the emotional trauma caused by their daughter’s death.

A deal has not been struck but an out-of-court civil settlement is being discussed in private. City Press understands that figures of between R2 and R3 million have been discussed.

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