That surprise and terse farewell came immediately on the heels of a carefully-worded press release by the high-powered public relations firm, Vuma Reputation Management, that they too are getting out of the murder business. At least as far as it pertains to their floundering efforts at salvaging the tarnished image of Reeva Steenkamp's now-infamous killer.
Detective Botha's career of course is in ruins, but it's still too soon to tell if the Vuma agency can actually walk away in time to prevent themselves from becoming the next Pistorius casualty.
All the world is finally aware that skilled PR spinners like Vuma were instrumental in misrepresenting the disabled runner as a model citizen and sportsman throughout the years when, in fact, nothing could be more untrue. So frantically dumping a problematic client and remaining unscathed by the association, no matter how brief, may no longer be possible.
From beating on women to drunken driving, publicity brokers have proven extremely effective in the past in assisting the troubled paralympian to escape his various run-ins with the law. Sometimes even finding means and methods of silencing the police themselves and getting them to withdraw documentation, statements, and key evidence in order to make a case disappear.
But the bogus "Oscar Is Innocent" campaign Vuma masterminds helped concoct on the fly this February with approval and guidance from the notorious Pistorius clan was going absolutely nowhere. Namely because Oscar isn't innocent of anything.
No place like home for Oscar PistoriusÂ—and those seeking to prosecute him
Vuma Reputation Management probably also just got wind that the Pistorius mansion where Steenkamp was heartlessly butchered on Valentine's Day by a jealous and impotent lover, is now going to be Exhibit A in the upcoming murder trial. And not just a room or two, mind you, but the whole darn building.
Authorities want the entire place maintained indefinitely as a crime scene so they can visit it during the Pistorius trial whenever they deem a site inspection to be necessary.
Thus it would appear that, among all those involved in the Steenkamp murder proceedings, Pistorius is the only person forbidden to go to the Pretoria mansion he calls home. He, his supporters, and the crime scene cleaners who usually descend on such places have all been told to stay away.
As expected, Team Pistorius has vociferously objected to the ban, as well as to other aspects of the ongoing investigation from which they claim to be shut out.
Key on their list of grievances is the rather bald assertion that they "haven't been able to fully examine the bathroom door" Pistorius shot up with bullet holes on the night he gunned down his defenseless girlfriend.
That door was removed and bagged by investigators only four days after the shooting. It will be presented at trial as vital evidence that Pistorius was not on his "stumps" as he has sworn to in affidavits, but instead standing high up on artificial legs when he knowingly took aim at his cowering victim.
It's these types of insincere protests and maneuvers, coming from family and friends who'd been called first to the Pistorius premises hours ahead of emergency medical responders, that have caused support for the celebrity runner to sharply drop off this month.
Together with an exodus of nearly all his corporate sponsors, the loss now of a PR firm that has always before capably defended stars like him, their personas, and their wallets, means it's steadily looking grimmer and grimmer for pistol-packing Pistorius.
Indeed, for a murder that's not yet 30 days cold, the rate of attrition within the ranks of its foremost players has been absolutely staggering.
Let's hope justice for Reeva Steenkamp will be as swift and merciless, too.
Illustration: Eponymous Rox
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