Image Credits: Stefan Posties / Stringer / Getty Images
The debate has raged on over the last 24 hours, as Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton sounded out plans to fast-track visas for white South African farmers who he feels will be “persecuted” by land expropriation without compensation.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Dutton has directed the Home Affairs Department to explore whether the farmers can be accepted into Australia through refugee, humanitarian or other visas, including the in-country persecution visa category.
This would be a much more rapid process than just applying for a standard entry visa to the country. Ndivhuwo Mabaya is Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson. He immediately dismissed Dutton’s idea, saying it was based on “wrong information”:
SA government react to visa plans for farmers
“We call on organisations like AfriForum who are spreading wrong information to cause panic and fear to refrain from doing so.”
“There is no reason for any government in the world to suspect that a section of South Africans is [in] danger from their own democratically elected government. That threat does not exist.”
Human rights group denounce fast-track visas for white South African farmers
Members of Australia’s Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) have since expressed their dismay at the potential fast-track visas for white South African farmers.
Arif Hussein, a lawyer for HRLC, lamented what he saw as the hypocrisy of helping white South Africans, but ignoring issues closer to home:
“If only our government responded with the same urgency and compassion to people fleeing violence and genocide in our region, instead of leaving them with nowhere to go or locking them up in dangerous conditions on Nauru and Manus.”
Director of Campaigns Tom Clarke also tweeted his disapproval of Peter Dutton’s approach. He accused the government of “punishing” other refugees who have been detained in camps for the last five years.
“SA needs help from a civilised country”
The Home Affairs Minister’s plans didn’t just raise eyebrows for its ambition. The language Dutton used was… something else.
He said that South Africa needed help from “a civilised country” to fight the crisis of farm murders, and said that white South African farmers “deserve special attention”.
No matter how it was phrased, this idea was always going to be contentious. Land expropriation is no longer a debate for this country alone and Australia perhaps won’t be the last nation to try getting involved.
This content was originally published here.