Australia considers fast-track visas for white South African farmers

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton believes the farmers deserve'special attention and need help from a'civilised country like Australia

Alana Bailey, deputy chief executive of AfriForum responsible for global liaison, said Dutton clearly takes in a "serious light" issues such as the high occurrence of farm attacks, crime statistics and the government's steps to make expropriation without compensation possible, while the South African government "simply ignores or shrugs these off as unfounded fears".

The department of worldwide relations and cooperation (Dirco) has slammed statements made by an Australian politician, who says his country is examining the fast-tracking of visas for white South African farmers because of the dangers they apparently face in South Africa.

The South African government has criticised reports that Australia wants to offer special attention to white South African farmers, who apply for visas to travel to that country.

South Africa rebuked an Australian government minister on Wednesday for suggesting white South African farmers needed help from a "civilized country" and should get special visas due to the "horrific circumstances" they faced at home.

On Thursday, a Home Affairs department spokesperson told SBS News it was now "monitoring the situation of minority groups in South Africa" and considering "potential resettlement under the offshore humanitarian program".

"If you look at the footage and read the stories, you hear the accounts, it's a horrific circumstance they face", Dutton said.

Mabaya said the South African government was clear that the matter was before Parliament for it to engage on it.

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He added that he had asked his department to look at the options "because from what I have seen they do need help from a civilised country like ours".

"They work hard, they integrate well into Australian society, they contribute to make us a better country and they're the sorts of migrants that we want to bring into our country", he said.

South Africa's new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is pursuing a policy of appropriating farm lands without compensation for redistribution to black South Africans.

"That threat does not exist", the foreign ministry said.

Land ownership is a sensitive subject in South Africa, 24 years after the end of apartheid rule.

Farm worker Mogoala Justice Ratalele (L) stand near his boss farmer Hans Bergmann (R) after an incident in which he was held at gunpoint for the theft of the chainsaw that he was working with, on November 2, 2017, in Tzaneen, South Africa.

Mr Dutton said the farmers could make a contribution to Australian life.

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