Hougaard: Oscar has nothing to do with me

2013-06-09 14:02

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Rugby star Francois Hougaard has emerged as a key figure in the mystery surrounding model Reeva Steenkamp’s death.

But this week Hougaard shrugged off his connection to Steenkamp and Pistorius, preferring to discuss luxury cars amid seafood platters and flutes of bubbly at a glittering bash in Umhlanga Rocks.

Hougaard and Steenkamp became lovers last year and remained “close friends” after breaking up.

It was reported this week that Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius started dating just three days after her split from the Blue Bulls scrum half.

It is also believed that Hougaard contacted the blonde model soon before Pistorius shot and killed her in the early hours of February 14.

“It has nothing to do with me,” Hougaard told City Press at the launch party of the Daytona Group’s KwaZulu-Natal branch. Daytona is the official agent of Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and McLaren in Africa.

Hougaard and Pistorius move in the same social circles, and both met Steenkamp through Daytona’s chief executive, Justin Divaris.

Divaris’ girlfriend, Samantha Greyvenstein, knew Steenkamp through modelling – and Divaris was one of the first people Pistorius called after shooting her.

At the Daytona launch party on Thursday evening, hostesses draped in black kept champagne glasses brimming. Among the cars showcased was a Rolls Royce Ghost with a price tag of R5 million.

Speaking to City Press, Hougaard was happy to elaborate on his love of cars.

“I’m mad about cars. From a young age, it’s always been a passion of mine,” he said.

He looked dapper in dark jeans, a black shirt and gel-slicked hair. He said he enjoyed attending Daytona functions for business opportunities and to meet new people.

Divaris said the Umhlanga branch had made four sales in its first three weeks of operation – two Aston Martins and two McLarens. He refused to comment on Pistorius, though, merely saying: “He is my friend, that’s all I can say”.

Far away from such glamour, the athlete’s legal team and brother, Carl, had coffee and toast with anchovette at Caught Coffee at the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Pistorius’ 10-minute appearance sparked a media storm, with journalists from around the globe piling into the court to chronicle him staring ahead detachedly. His trial was postponed to August 19.

The owner of Caught Coffee, Hannetjie van Rensburg, said the case had greatly inflated the shop’s turnover. “It’s the biggest media circus I’ve seen in seven years of being here. With the Nair hearings, profits doubled.”

Divaris was not seen at the court. Pistorius’ boxer friend Kevin Lerena was also absent. Lerena made headlines when Pistorius fired a gun inside the trendy eatery Tasha’s Cafe in Joburg, startling well-heeled patrons and narrowly missing the boxer’s foot.

Another friend, tow-truck baron Craig Lipschitz, accompanied Pistorius to Salon Roma in Rosebank for a haircut six weeks ago.

Barber Fabio Montepara said: “It was just a normal hair cut. Oscar was quiet, we spoke of sports a bit.” Salon Roma’s regular clients include (Brett Kebble’s killer) Mikey Schultz, Montepara said.

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