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Steenkamps family welcome decision to delay Oscar Pistorius' release

Pretoria: The family of Reeva Steenkamp has welcomed the decision to block the release of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, who is serving a five-year prison sentence for her murder.

Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp 

Jacqui Mofokeng, a member of a women's advocacy group, said yesterday that Reeva's mother June told her it was the "best day ever for Reeva" when news broke that Pistorius would not be released as expected on Friday after just 10 months behind bars.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on Wednesday a parole board decision taken in June to free Pistorius and allow him to serve out the rest of his sentence under house arrest was "premature" and had been suspended pending review. The review panel has up to four months to make its decision.

Mofokeng told reporters she had exchanged text messages with June Steenkamp on Wednesday about the minister's decision, which came as the family was marking what would have been Reeva's 32nd birthday.

Her group, the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa, had lobbied against the release of the double amputee sprinter in August, which is celebrated in the country as women's month.

Steenkamp's family lawyer Tania Koen also said Reeva's parents welcomed the minister's decision, adding that they "have always had faith in the justice system."

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