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South Africa's sports minister on Tuesday expressed shock and disbelief that star athlete Oscar Pistorius has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend in a country battling rising levels of violence against women.
"We strongly believe that no one is above the law," minister Fikile Mbalula said after the champion Paralympian appeared in court on Tuesday.
"None of our sporting heroes and heroines should be associated with such acts of violence against women and children."
Pistorius was a role mode and international icon, according to Mbalula who said he viewed the matter with "disbelief" in the context of increasing abuse against women.
The government has so far been largely silent on the arrest of the champion Paralympian, who is charged with killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day.
"Many questions are being asked; but we have no answers," he said, saying the courts would provide these.
A principle of innocence until proven otherwise in court should also be upheld, he said