The seemingly united front of the Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’ family, who huddled together in the public gallery throughout his bail hearing, began to crack today.
Henke Pistorius, Oscar’s father, told The Daily Telegraph at the weekend that he and members of his family owned guns because they could not rely on the police to protect them, and blamed the ANC for failing to protect white South Africans.
But today, Arnold, Oscar’s uncle and the designated family spokesperson, said the interview was unapproved by the Pistorius media team and that the family was “deeply concerned” by the remarks. “Oscar and the rest of the Pistorius family distances itself from the comments,” said a statement released by Stuart Higgins, a former Sun editor who is acting as a media adviser. “The comments don’t represent the views of Oscar or the rest of the Pistorius family.” The sprinter is charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, the model Reeva Steenkamp, in a Valentine’s Day shooting that he alleges was an accident, believing her to be an intruder.
The ANC responded by describing Henke Pistorius’ statements as racist and “devoid of truth”, saying it was sad that “he has chosen to politicise a tragic incident that is still fresh in the minds of those affected and the public”.
The spat came on the same day as allegations that police had improperly handled yet another piece of key evidence. South African television broadcaster eNCA claims to have confirmed through unnamed police sources that officers removed the bullet hole-ridden toilet door just four days after the shooting, before the defence’s private forensic team could inspect the crime scene.
Local private forensic scientist David Klatzow told The Independent that it could potentially have a serious impact on the court case. He says delicate trace evidence on the door could have been damaged.
Police declined to comment on the eNCA allegations, saying the investigation was still at a preliminary stage.