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Australia: Sisulu welcomes Canberra’s retraction of ‘persecuted’ white farmers remark

Minister says Australia acknowledges that Peter Dutton did not represent official immigration policy. By PETER FABRICIUS.

The South African government has welcomed the Australian government’s retraction of the comments made by their Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton offering humanitarian visas to white South African farmers because of “persecution” and threats of expropriation of their land without compensation.

International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu “noted and welcomed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Jullie Bishop’s retraction” of Dutton’s remarks. ?

We welcome the assurance by the Australian government as reported in the media that the comments made by their Home Affairs Minister are not in line with Australian immigration policy. We also welcome Australia’s condemnation of the unfortunate comments by South African and other international organisations and leaders,” Sisulu said in a statement.

Sisulu appeared to be referring to remarks by Turnbull and Bishop reported in Australian media that Australia’s humanitarian immigration policy was non-discriminatory.

Sisulu added: “We must emphasise, as we have stated before, that no one is being persecuted in South Africa, including white farmers. We call upon all non-governmental organisations to desist from spreading untruths and misleading information.”

This remark referred to campaigns by pro-farmer NGOs to persuade foreign governments that white South African farmers are being persecuted both because of farm murders and because of Parliament’s recent decision to investigate amending the Constitution to remove the protection against land expropriation without compensation.

South Africa is a law abiding country and, through a constitutional process, it will arrive at solutions on land redistribution that will take the country forward without violating anyone’s rights,” Sisulu said.

Dutton has not retracted the remarks which offended the South African government. But Pretoria believes remarks by Turnbull and Bishop stressing that Australia’s immigration policy is non-discriminatory have in effect contradicted Dutton. DM

Photo: Then Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu during the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster media briefing, 2015. (Photo: DoC)

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