Gender Links joins fellow activists in welcoming the news today that Oscar Pistorius' culpable homicide charge has been over turned into a murder charge. This is a bold statement during this Sixteen Days of Activism that men cannot get away with the murder of their intimate partners.
In a country that has high levels of gender based violence like South Africa it is important that harsher sentences are imposed for those guilty of gender based violence. This judgement shows the justice systems commitment to punishing perpetrators irrespective of race or class justice will be served.
The five high court judges delivered a unanimous decision that Judge Thokozile Masipa had to impose a harsher sentence on the paralympian following today's judgement in the Bloemfontein High court. Under South African law you cannot just shoot - you first need to determine that the threat to your life is real and that there is no other way to eliminate that threat but to shoot.
Pistorius was released on parole on October 19, having spent one day less than a year in prison for shooting dead model Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013. The athlete, who is currently under house arrest at his uncle's home in Pretoria, will now be re-sentenced by the original court and looks certain to return to jail, as a murder conviction carries a minimum of 15 years in South Africa.
In today's ruling, Justice Lorimer Leach said the identity of the person behind the door was irrelevant. The fact that Pistorius armed himself with a high-calibre weapon and shot into a small toilet cubicle showed he must have foreseen that the person might die.
Many South Africans have applauded the court's decision on social media, saying justice has now been served for Reeva Steenkamp. Members of the ruling African National Congress party's Women's League supported the verdict. They have attended the court sessions in solidarity with Ms Steenkamp's family and in support of women's rights.
Today's judgement is a cause for celebration during the remaining Sixteen Days of Activism.