Photos of an event in Perth, Australia, this weekend featuring people marching against the alleged genocide of white farmers in South Africa have appeared on social media. They were posted by Australian independent senator Fraser Anning.
Anning backs giving white South African farmers preference for refugee visas. He has labelled violence towards white farmers in the country “genocide”.
SBS News quoted Anning last month as saying: “These people are being persecuted. It’s now verging on a genocide as far as I’m concerned.
“When you have state-sponsored people with the state complicit in this, slaughtering whites simply because they’re white, that’s genocide,” he said.
He told SBS that white South African farmers could easily integrate in Australian.
“They’re a similar type of people to us, with similar views and Christian values.”
Last month Australian Minister of Home Affairs Peter Dutton, who also holds the ministerial post for immigration and border protection, claimed white South African farmers “deserve special attention” because of the “horrific circumstances” of land seizures and violence in South Africs.
Anning, who quit the party One Nation an hour after he was sworn in to become an independent, also attended a rally in Brisbane in March in support of South African farmers.
Australia – on a far smaller scale than South Africa, however – is also currently debating whether its land, which was settled by colonial Britain was in fact “stolen” from its indigenous people, with Anning taking the position that this cannot be the case.
He and other Australian politicians have taken a keen interest in land reform in South Africa, particularly after parliament in South Africa passed a motion to change the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.
Hundreds of people marched last month outside the Queensland parliament in support of Dutton. The Australian government has since distanced itself from Dutton’s comments.Backbench Liberal MP Andrew Laming criticised the Australian government for giving in to “political correctness”.
However, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Monday said South Africa welcomed Australia’s retraction of the controversial comments its home affairs minister made.
Sisulu was quoted as saying: “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”.
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”.
Sisulu said South Africa is a law-abiding country and, through a constitutional process, it will 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,” the statement said.
These reassurances appear to have done little to calm the few thousand people who turned out in Perth on Sunday morning, bearing placards such as: “Allow us to bring family and parents”, and “Recognise the genocide,” amid the flags of both South Africa and Australia.
Another placard said: “Stop crime for all in South Africa.”Perth has one of the largest expat South African communities in the world. The city has become synonymous with white South Africans who, in frustration at the politics of their country of birth, start “Packing for Perth”.