Diplomatic row over Australia's offer to South African farmers

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – A diplomatic row has broken out after an Australian government minister said “persecuted” white South African farmers need help from a “civilised” country.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is considering offering the farmers fast-track visas on humanitarian grounds.

As previously reported by PANA, Pretoria has fast-tracked a plan to expropriate land without compensation to address Apartheid-era injustices.

Dutton was quoted as saying that farmers needed help “from a civilised country like ours". "I think these people deserve special attention and we're certainly applying that special attention now.”

Dutton has previously come under fire for making racist statements. In January, the Daily Mail reported that Dutton claimed Melbourne residents are living in fear “because of gang violence committed by African migrants”.

South Africa's Department of Foreign Affairs expressed concern that the Australian government failed to use the available diplomatic channels to raise their concerns.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday said white South Africans still own about 72% of farms, followed by mixed race “coloureds” who own 15%, Indians 5% and blacks just 4%.

Ramaphosa said his government needs to create a comprehensive programme of land redistribution that strengthens the property rights of all South Africans, increases agricultural production and improves food security.

"The dispossession of land of the indigenous people of this country is what I characterize as the original sin that continues to constrain our people. The return of land is fundamental to our society, and it is critical to improve the lives of poor people in our country," he said.
-0- PANA CU/VAO 15March2018

15 march 2018 14:47:31

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