Oscar Pistorius, who killed his girlfriend last week, was granted $113,000 bail today but told he can't live in his posh Silver Woods estate ahead of a June 4 trial date.
Pretoria, South Africa
Life in urban South Africa is so synonymous with crime and fear that a 90-acre gated community like Silver Woods Country Estate can seem like a paradise. Sprawling and secure compound living is prized as a crime-free, alternate version of South Africa.
Silver Woods, as it is known, located in a suburb east of Pretoria, is where Oscar Pistorius resided, and where, on Valentine’s Day, the sports and cultural icon shot and killed his girlfriend in a bathroom off their bedroom. The compound wasn't as safe from crime, it seems, as Mr. Pistorius might have thought.
The case of the gun-wielding double-amputee known as the “Blade Runner,” who made history in the recent London Olympics by sprinting on fiber carbon struts instead of legs, has brought a focus to the elite Afrikaner world of the rich and famous that Pistorius inhabited, a world not far from violence yet lived in comfort.
Today a South African court granted bail to Pistorius at $113,000, saying his fame meant he was not a flight risk. The court said his trial would commence in early June. Family members of Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend and victim, were in court for the first time today.
But magistrate Desmond Nair, after initial cheers from Pistorius supporters, said the sprint star may not return to his Silver Woods abode, and must turn over his passport and guns, and eschew alcohol in the runup to the trial.
Silver Woods is protected by high walls, electric fencing, security guards, laser sensors, biometric “thumbprint” locks, all overseen by closed-circuit cameras. Cars of choice at Silver Woods: Jaguars and BMW X5s.
It is a zone of large mansions, huge chandeliers, golf and tennis, servants brought in by special trolley – the kind of place that has mushroomed in post-apartheid South Africa, as mostly whites left South African cities.