Oscar Pistorius' family caught up in row over weapons

 

The family of Oscar Pistorius has been caught up in a public row over whether guns are a necessary protection against crime in South Africa.

Pistorius' father, Henke Pistorius, told a newspaper the family owns handguns for self-defence and suggested that South Africa's government shares blame for "white crime levels" in the country where police register more than 15,000 murders per year.

But the runner's uncle, Arnold Pistorius, issued a statement in which the family distanced itself from the father's comments.

It said they were "deeply concerned about the comments" and that they do not "represent the views of Oscar or the rest of the Pistorius family."

The double amputee track star is now on bail after shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 with his 9 mm pistol.

Prosecutors charged him with premeditated murder, saying the shooting followed an argument between the two.

Pistorius said he mistook Ms Steenkamp for a burglar, fired shots at the door of his toilet and then discovered that she was inside.

His uncle, who has acted as the family spokesman following the killing, said in the statement that "the Pistorius family own weapons purely for sport and hunting purposes."

That contradicts Oscar Pistorius' evidence to the magistrate who freed him on bail.

In an affidavit, the athlete known as "Blade Runner" for his carbon-fibre prosthetic running legs said he owned the 9 mm handgun and slept with it under his bed because "I have also been a victim of violence and of burglaries before."

The South African Police Service's National Firearms Centre said Pistorius registered the 9 mm for self-defence. Police issued him with his gun licence on September 10, 2010.

Henke Pistorius earlier told the Daily Telegraph that some of the family's guns "are for hunting and some are for protection, the hand guns. It speaks to the ANC government, look at white crime levels, why protection is so poor in this country, it's an aspect of our society."

"You can't rely on the police, not because they are inefficient always but because crime is so rife," he said. "I have been in positions where I can use a gun but we have been brought up in a way that we value the lives of others very highly."

The family's response to those comments was issued by Vuma, a reputation management firm it has hired to deal with media questions following Ms Steenkamp's killing.

"Oscar Pistorius's family is deeply concerned about the comments made by Oscar's father, Henke Pistorius, to UK newspaper the Telegraph about the family using its weapons to defend themselves against crime in South Africa, and especially about his comments that the ANC government is not willing to protect white South Africans," the statement said.

"Henke's interview with the newspaper was unapproved by our media liaison team," it added.

Some reports have said Oscar Pistorius and his father had become estranged before Ms Steenkamp's death. But the father was seen comforting the sprinter when he sobbed during his bail hearing.

News
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food and drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Voices
A Siberian Tiger
voices
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

SAP BW BO

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW BO - 6 MONTHS - LONDON London (Gr...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried