Public outraged by Oscar’s sentence

By Drum Digital
21 October 2014

Whatever judgement I will give will not reverse what has happened, said Judge Masipa.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’s sentencing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday has caused a huge public outrage. Pistorius who was found guilty of culpable homicide for the murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 2013, and guilty of discharging a firearm in public was given "only" five years for culpable homicide and three year suspended sentenced on his second count. Minutes after sentencing members of the he African National Congress Women’s League present at court expressed their  disapproval of the verdict. “Someone was killed here and yet he gets off lightly,” said one member. The women then went on to chant the words Wathinta Bafazi...wathinta imbhokodo (you strike a woman you strike a rock) outside the court where Pistorius was sentenced by Judge Thokozile Masipa.

Phuluwa  Kekana (35), who came with her husband and sat in the overflow gallery to hear Judge Masipa’s final ruling was also astounded after the sentence was handed out.

“I am really surprised by this, he killed someone and yet he gets a sentence so short. This isn't fair.”

The overflow gallery was silent during Judge Masipa’s summary but murmurs began when she handed down her final sentence.  “This is nonsense,” one male observer said.

Two students from a nearby college Khethiwe Mazibuko and Mary Jane Matanda also expressed their outrage. “The saying ‘money talks’ clearly worked here. I have heard of people who committed less violent crimes who got a worse sentence,” Mary Jane said.

“As much as I am not a member of Reeva’s family I am outraged for them. Five years for taking away their child? I mean really...,” Khethiwe said.

The outrage probably didn't come as a surprise to Judge Masipa who said in her ruling; “Courts do not exist to win popularity contests for the public.” Indeed this is one ruling that has left many questioning the courts and some angry at it and Judge Masipa.

After court Reeva's parents June and Barry went in a corner to speak to some friends and their lawyer Dup de Bruyn before heading out. The Steenkamps refused to comment or do any interviews with the media. De Bruyn did say that the family is satisfied with the court’s decision.

By Molife Kumona

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