South Africa slams Australia's political meddling

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – The diplomatic spat between Australia and South Africa continues to deepen with Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu issuing a diplomatic letter to Australian High Commissioner Adam McCarthy, to demand a retraction of the comments made by over South Africa’s land redistribution process.

As previously reported by PANA, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton hit a nerve earlier this week when he said “persecuted” white South African farmers needed help from a “civilised” country. He said his country was considering offering the farmers fast-track visas on humanitarian grounds.

However, Sisulu hit back, saying the South African government is offended by the statements.

Government spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said "a full retraction is expected”. Mabaya said it was regrettable that the Australian government “chose not to use the available diplomatic channels to raise concerns or to seek clarification on the land redistribution process”.

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has entered the fray, saying his country has good relations with South Africa and the demand that it retract the comments is "over the top".

Pretoria has fast-tracked a plan to expropriate land without compensation to address Apartheid-era injustices.

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

Ramaphosa said his government needed to create a comprehensive programme of land redistribution that strengthened the property rights of all South Africans, increased agricultural production and improved food security.

"The dispossession of land of the indigenous people of this country is what I characterise 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/MA 16March2018

16 march 2018 10:25:04




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