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.
If Pistorius is the OJ Simpson of modern South Africa, Silver Woods is its Brentwood, the high-end Los Angeles suburb formerly inhabited by the US football and movie star found not guilty of killing his wife.
Garth Jager, director of Garnat Properties, the developer behind Silver Woods, said residents of the estate are more aware of crime than the average South African, a powerful assertion considering how crime-conscious the country is.
“They want security more than anything else. They want to build and live in a safe environment,” Jager said.