Government - Dutton Angers South Africa
Pretoria a is rejecting Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's offer to help resettle white farmers, who he feels are "persecuted" in post-apartheid South Africa and should find a home in "civilized" Australia.
"There is no reason for any government in the world to suspect that a section of South Africans is under danger from their own democratically elected government," said South Africa's foreign ministry. "We regret that the Australian government chose not to use the available diplomatic channels available for them to raise concerns or to seek clarification."
Earlier this week, Dutton claimed that white farmers were more likely to be murdered in South Africa, and face land seizures from the government. South Africa's new president Cyril Ramaphosa has said he wants to "escalate the pace" of redistributing land from white farmers to black farmers, but later clarified that this will not happen by force.
"We will not allow land grabs," Mr. Ramaphosa told parliament on Wednesday. "We will not allow land invasion because it is illegal. It begins to violate rights of other South African citizens," he said.
But Dutton continued his call on Thursday, telling Sydney radio station 2GB: "If people are being persecuted, regardless of whether it's because of religion or the color of their skin or whatever, we need to provide assistance where we can," he said, singling out the white farmers for praise. "They contribute and make us a better country," Dutton added. "They're the sorts of migrants that we want to bring into our country."
Just a few months earlier, Dutton showed no such altruism for asylum-seekers and refugees who weren't white South African farmers. His comments come after the courts awarded asylum-seekers and refugees held in an offshore detention camp were awarded AU$70 Million because they were illegally detained and treated negligently.