Sisulu welcomes Australia’s retraction of comments about SA farmers
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu has welcomed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Jullie Bishop’s retraction of controversial comments made by their home affairs minister‚ Peter Dutton‚ regarding the South African land redistribution process.
Dutton sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries when he told media he believed white South African farmers deserved “special attention” because they faced violence and land seizures.
He said white farmers needed protection from a civilised country like Australia and that the country should fast-track visas for them.
The South African government responded by issuing a diplomatic demarche to the Australian High Commissioner in South Africa‚ Adam McCarthy‚ demanding the retraction of Dutton’s comments.
In a statement on Monday‚ Sisulu said she welcomed the retraction by the Australian government.
“We welcome the assurance by the Australian government as reported in the media that the comments made by their Home Affairs Minister are not in line with Australian immigration policy. We also welcome Australia's condemnation of the unfortunate comments by South African and other international organisations and leaders‚" Sisulu said.
She added: "We must emphasise‚ as we have stated before‚ that no one is being persecuted in South Africa‚ including white farmers. We call upon all non-governmental organisations to desist from spreading untruths and misleading information."
She said South Africa was a law abiding country and‚ through a Constitutional process‚ would “arrive at solutions on land redistribution that will take the country forward without violating anyone’s rights”.
“South African diplomatic channels are always open to those who may wish to seek clarity on our country’s policy positions‚” Sisulu added.