Pistorius' dad blames gun culture

March 5, 2013 at 10:34 AM
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PRETORIA, South Africa, March 5 (UPI) -- The father of South African paralympian runner Oscar Pistorius, charged in his girlfriend's death, blamed his country's violent crime rate on the government.

Henke Pistorius also blamed the ANC-led government for the high number of South Africans who carry guns, Britain's The Daily Telegraph reported.

Oscar Pistorius, who shot and killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, insisted he shot her through a locked bathroom door because he believed she was a burglar.

Besides the 9mm gun used in the shooting, The Daily Telegraph reported Sunday that Oscar Pistorius had applied for licenses for another six firearms.

Pistorius' father, grandfather and uncles own 55 guns among them, the Beeld reported. Henke Pistorius said the family collected firearms and hunted, but added that the guns also were needed for self-defense.

"Some of the 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," he said. "You can't rely on the police, not because they are inefficient always but because crime is so rife."

While saying he never had to use a gun to defend himself, Henke Pistorius added, "That doesn't mean I haven't been hijacked, attacked. ... 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."

ANC spokesman Ishmael Mnisi said Pistorius' comments were "worrying," the Telegraph said.

"Crime is something that affects everyone in this country," he said. "We have acknowledged it as a problem but there are many strikes that the government is making in addressing these issues."

"It doesn't justify a person having to use a gun to kill, or justify him having many guns in his house," Mnisi said. "People must report crime to the police. Oscar's father has no right to say that. It's a very worrying statement."

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