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Australian minister won’t back down on visa plan for white SA farmers

Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has been labelled a racist after he said white farmers 'require special attention' as they’re being 'persecuted'.

FILE: Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, 2 March 2017. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN – Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is not backing down on his plans to fast-track visas for white South African farmers.

Dutton has been labelled a racist after he said white farmers “require special attention” as they’re being “persecuted”. He also said white farmers need protection from a civilised country like Australia.

Despite criticism, Dutton on Thursday told Sydney radio show 2GB that he won’t back down. The minister added that he is “completely blind to somebody’s skin colour”.

“I’m completely blind as to somebody’s skin colour. It makes no difference to me. It concerns me that people are being persecuted at the moment. That’s the reality.

“The number of people dying and being savagely attacked in South Africa is a reality.”

Dutton also hit out at ABC News, The Guardian and Huffington Post during the interview for criticising him, saying “the crazy lefties” are “completely dead” to him.

REACTION

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has rejected Dutton’s claims on white South African farmers.

Bishop acknowledged concerns on the overall murder rate in South Africa, but she said that humanitarian visas will only be issued on merit.

Another lawmaker, Nationals MP Andrew Broad has criticised Dutton’s comments, saying that his plan could lead to a food crisis in South Africa.

“If we take away the farmers from South Africa, we rob them of the capacity to farm that ground and ultimately feed the population,” he told ABC Radio.

He said Dutton should look at what’s happening on the ground before making policy.

In an interview with The Guardian, Gareth Newham, from the Institute for Security Studies, said young black men faced a greater risk of being murdered in South Africa.

“In fact, young black males living in poor urban areas like Khayelitsha and Lange face a far greater risk of being murdered. The murder rate there is between 200 and 300 murders per 100,000 people.”

Locally, International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu demanded that Dutton withdraw his comments. She labelled his claims as misleading.

“The impression created is that white farmers in South Africa are living under horrific conditions and there is a possibility of death. And all these barbaric things are being put across about us.”

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