- The controversy about white South African farmers being welcomed to Australia for their own safety is nowhere near over
- Australian Home Affairs minister, Peter Dutton, said this week that he is considering “several applications” from South African farmers for refugee status
- This despite Dutton’s own country telling him to mind his own business, and International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu saying Australia had apologised
Like a petulant child refusing to back down in an argument despite everyone telling him to sit down and stop making a fool of himself, Australia’s minister of home affairs, Peter Dutton, isn’t backing down from his stated mission to allow white farmers from South Africa to qualify as refugees and be granted visas to enter Australia.
As Briefly.co.za has reported before, right-wing elements are keen to have the stories of a so-called white genocide occuring in South Africa in which farmers are said to be at great risk of losing life and limb.
Last month, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop were both said to have told Dutton this plan to offer visas to white South African farmers won't materialise, and Sisulu reportedly accepted a letter from the Australian government responding to her objections to Dutton’s utterances, saying she was “satisfied” and that the matter was now put to rest.
It seems though that it is far from over as Dutton doubled down on his claims this week telling an international news outlet in an interview that he is considering “several applications” from South African farmers for refugee status in the country.
Dutton said he stands by his comments insisting that white farmers in South African need protection. “I’m not sure what domestic issues are at play in terms of the politics in South Africa that would bring this comment out but it’s not based on any factual statement of anyone within the Australian government,” Dutton told Sky News. “And in fact we’re having a look at several now,” he said. Dutton also said hat farmers deserved “special attention” because they faced violence and land seizures.
Recently Briefly.co.za reported on the opinion of a Durban writer who said the ongoing narrative of “white genocide” was not only false, but actually dangerous.
In a post on facebook, Adrian Fleur offered a critical perspective on the perceived threats against white farmers in South Africa explaining why using the term ‘genocide’ to describe attacks on white people in South Africa is demonstrably false.
She argues that that people who are spreading rumours of targeted killings of white people in South Africa are supporting the terrorism of white supremacist groups. "They have purposely manufactured these unproven stories that are easily spread on social media with the aim of inciting hatred and division," she explains.
She also recently shared a link to a group of people who are now actively working against the dissemination of the white genocide myth in South Africa.
While farm murders are an issue, South Africa is a country that faces violent crime across the board. White farmers are said to still be statistically less likely to be the victims of violent crime than young black men.
Fact checking organisation, Africa Check recently released a detailed fact-sheet on farm murders in the country where it noted that police statistics show there were 74 farm murder in 2016/2017 but that victims could include any people residing or working on, or even just visiting farms and smallholdings.
"Experts say that estimating this total population is difficult, if not impossible. It may be problematic to use an estimate of all people living on farms depending on what data is used for murders and attacks,” Gareth Newham, head of the crime and justice programme at the Institute for Security Studies, told Africa Check. “It is likely that many of the figures for farm attacks and murders on farms collected by organised agricultural or the SAPS for that matter, would not contain all the attacks or murders of non-farmers.”
Newham said until more accurate estimates of the number of people “residing on, working on or visiting farms and smallholdings” is known it would be impossible to calculate a useful farm murder rate.
Meanwhile, social media lately has indicated there are many clues that Dutton might have his eye on the top job in Australia and is intending to run for leadership.
Could the recent high profile statements just be his attempt at gaining support and recognition? Some on Twitter worry he might well be.
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