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Gazette Premium Content TV show with Pistorius' dead girlfriend to air

Staff reports Updated: February 16, 2013 at 12:00 am

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa's national broadcaster will screen a reality TV show featuring the dead model girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius, it said Saturday, two days after she was shot and killed at the home of the double-amputee athlete and Paralympic superstar.

In a statement, SABC said it will air the Tropika Island of Treasure program "which features the late Reeva Steenkamp" on Saturday evening.

Pistorius was arrested and charged with the Valentine's Day murder of Steenkamp, who was shot multiple times in the predawn hours of Thursday at Pistorius' house in a gated community in the South African capital, Pretoria.

Reeva's cousin, Sharon Steenkamp, told The Associated Press later Saturday that the family had not been consulted by anyone from the show or SABC, but they were not against it being aired because Reeva "was proud of being in the show."

"Her last words to us personally was that she wants us to watch it," Sharon Steenkamp said.

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ALSO: Pistorius' family strongly refutes murder charge

PRETORIA, South Africa — Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is "numb with shock, as well as grief" after the shooting death of his model girlfriend at his home in South Africa, the runner's uncle said Saturday, as his family strongly refuted prosecutors' claims that he murdered her.

Arnold Pistorius spoke with The Associated Press and two other South African journalists about his nephew's arrest in the killing of Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot four times on the morning of Valentine's Day. Arnold Pistorius spoke to reporters from his three-story home in the eastern suburbs of South Africa's capital, Pretoria.

The statement, the first on camera and directly made in person by Pistorius' family, also came out strongly against prosecutors seeking to upgrade the charge against Pistorius to one of premeditated murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison.

"After consulting with legal representatives, we deeply regret the allegation of premeditated murder," Arnold Pistorius said. "We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation and that the state's own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder or murder as such."

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The show's executive producer, Samantha Moon, also said that the family wanted the show to go ahead.

"They want it on," said Moon, who works for production company Stimulii. "This is how they want to remember her. This is what she would have wanted."

SABC said the show, where the 29-year-old blonde model and law graduate was expected to be seen laughing and smiling with other contestants and being interviewed by presenters, would also act as a tribute to Steenkamp.

"Definitely the SABC is going ahead with the airing of the program today," spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said, "and we have indicated that we will put massages of condolences on the program."

A Steenkamp family spokesman said late Friday that relatives still faced a long struggle to come to terms with her killing.

"I can't see the family getting over this shortly," Reeva's uncle, Mike Steenkamp said. "It's going to be a long, long-term reconciliation with a lot of things and issues."

Mike Steenkamp said there would be a memorial service for Reeva in her home town of Port Elizabeth, on South Africa's southern coast.

"Reeva's casket is being brought to PE (Port Elizabeth)," he said.

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