He was eligible to be considered for early prison release, having served over half of his 13-year sentence. A statement from the Department of Correctional Services is expected later.
The family of Ms Steenkamp opposed his parole, with her mother June giving a victim impact statement to the parole board.
“I don’t believe his story. I don’t,” she said ahead of the hearing as to why the Steenkamp family opposed Pistorius being granted parole.
“Unless he comes clean, they don’t feel that he’s rehabilitated,” said Tania Koen, the Steenkamp’s family lawyer, adding that he didn’t take the opportunity to testify in mitigation, when the Supreme Court found him guilty of murder. “That’s why we’re here today”.
“They’re absolutely still grieving, for them it’s 10 missed birthdays, 10 missed Christmases. Time hasn’t healed for them,” added Ms Koen.
Gender based violence is escalating in South Africa, with Women for Change a South African non-profit organisation advocating for constitutional rights of women and campaigns on GBV noting that 12 women being murdered every day, and a woman raped every 29 seconds in the country.
“We would really like to see Pistorius serving his entire sentence for the brutal murder of Reeva,” said the organisation. “If our justice system does not send out a clear message to perpetrators, which includes that murderers should serve a full sentence for their crimes, then we cannot accept any changes happening in society.”
June Steenkamp had raised concerns about being in the same room as Pistorius and in the end, their submissions were heard separately by the board.
Submissions from a victim’s relatives form just one aspect of whether parole will be granted with behaviour in prison being the most important factor. Yet, it is believed the statement from the Steenkamp family played a major role in the board’s decision to deny parole.
Steenkamp was killed on Valentine’s Day 2013 after Pistorius, her boyfriend at the time, shot her four times through the bathroom door.
He claimed he thought she was an intruder and in September 2014 he was found not guilty of murder by Judge Thokozile Masipa. There are no juries in the South African justice system. The judge did find him guilty of culpable homicide and the following month he received the maximum five-year prison sentence.
Just one year later he was released into correctional supervision, under house arrest staying with his uncle. However, the state appealed the conviction and in December 2015 South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal overturned the culpable homicide conviction for one of murder. Judge Masipa sentenced him to six years in July 2016, defying South Africa’s prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years for murder.
Again, the state appealed the decision, this time the sentencing, and the Supreme Court of Appeal imposed a 15-year sentence, reduced to 13 years and five months for time served. Having now completed half of that sentence he is eligible for parole.
Ms Steenkamp was a paralegal and model before she was murdered by Pistorius in his Pretoria home. In 2012, Pistorius became the first amputee runner to compete at the Olympic Games and carried the flag for South Africa in the closing ceremony. They had been going out for three months before he murdered her.