STIRRING CONTROVERSY: Murder accused Oscar Pistorius’ father Henke Pistorius with his daughter Aimee. PICTURE: AFP
“Oscar Pistorius needs guns because the ANC government fails to protect white people.”
This is how the troubled athletics star’s father, Henk Pistorius, was quoted by a British newspaper this week.
British newspapers the Mirror and The Telegraph reported Pistorius as having blamed the tragic death of model Reeva Steenkamp on rampant crime in South Africa and the government’s failure to protect its citizens, particularly white people. The family reportedly has 56 guns between its six members, some of which are for self-protection.
White South Africans, in particular Afrikaners, were targeted by criminals, Pistorius said.
“Some of the guns are for hunting and some are for protection, the handguns. 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,” Henk said.
His son Oscar, who is facing a charge of murdering his model girlfriend on Valentine’s Day in his Pretoria home, is reported to have at least six guns including a .500 Magnum revolver. Oscar has claimed he had mistakenly shot Reeva through his bathroom door, thinking there was an intruder inside.
Henk Pistorius, Oscar’s grandfather Hendrik, and his uncles Arnold, Theo and Leo own about 56 shotguns and handguns.
His comments have angered South Africans, with some believing Henk Pistorius was trying to lay the groundwork for his son’s defence. Dr Johan Burger, senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies, said: “Everybody knows that crime is high in South Africa, but some people take facts and mix them with perceptions and that can be confusing. Most violent crime happens in poor communities due to economic conditions.
“Crime taking place in more affluent areas are driven by greed.
“People in affluent areas are targeted for crime because criminals believe they have more money and there are more things to be stolen,” he said.
Burger said there was no evidence to support that white South Africans, specifically Afrikaners, were being targeted for violent crime.
“There is nowhere in the world where the police can guarantee anyone’s safety,” he added.
Burger said Henk Pistorius’s comments appear to promote his son’s defence that he had opened fire on the night Reeva was killed because he had felt threatened by criminals.
Police spokesperson Zweli Mnisi also rubbished Henk’s comment: “To make a sweeping statement like that, to say he cannot rely on police is being mischievous. He does not live in an island where he can do as he pleases.
“We are all equal before the law and are all governed by the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. Crime is our common enemy, it affects all citizens rich and poor, black and white, young and old,” Mnisi said.
Pistorius’s spokesperson, Lunice Johnston, said: “We did not have any knowledge about the interview, but we are in talks with the members of the family.”
ANC spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said: “A statement will be released later.”
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula who came out in Oscar’s defence and promoted him as a local sports icon could not be reached for comment.