Controversial South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been granted permission to visit former President Nelson Mandela at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg. The former President and global icon (95) has been recovering at home after a long battle with illness saw him hospitalized in recent times. President Jacob Zuma has announced that he took the decision to allow Pistorius to visit Mandela: “I came up with the idea. I feel this visit would be a good opportunity for the nation to collectively heal; after all, both Oscar and Madiba have been through adversity.” Zuma said.
The Olympic and Paralympic star, a double-amputee, will face trial in March 2014 for the alleged murder of his lover Reeva Steenkamp in the bathroom of his luxury Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day. Pistorius maintains his innocence, claiming it was a terrible accident and that he had mistaken Steenkamp for a burglar.
A spokesperson for Pistorius’ family thanked Zuma for allowing the meeting, scheduled for Monday, but said the family was disappointed that Pistorius would not be allowed any weapons into the Mandela home.
“We thank the new guy, Zuma, for giving Oscar this chance to meet with Madiba who is a hero like Oscar. Finally, the authorities are coming to their senses and allowing Oscar’s life to return to normal,” said the spokesperson.
“Hopefully he can start competing professionally as well once we sort out this trial thing. However, we are quite annoyed and disappointed that Oscar will not be allowed to take precautions and protect himself when we go to Joburg. Everybody knows crime is crazy there. Even if it is Mandela’s house.”