/ 1 September 2009

SA govt slams Canada refugee ruling

Canada has granted South African citizen Brandon Huntley refugee status, because the South African government cannot protect him from persecution by ”African South Africans”, reports said on Tuesday.

Canadian newspaper the Ottawa Sun quoted a representative of the South African High Commission in Ottawa, Anesh Maistry, as saying South Africa had taken note of the decision, reported on News24.com.

Maistry told News24.com that Canada was a sovereign country that made its own laws.

The Ottawa Sun reported that Huntley had provided ”clear and convincing proof of the South African government’s inability or unwillingness to protect him” to a Canadian immigration and refugee board.

His evidence showed ”a picture of indifference and inability or unwillingness” of the South African government to protect ”white South Africans from persecution by African South Africans”, said tribunal panel chair William Davis.

”I find that the claimant would stand out like a ‘sore thumb’ due to his colour in any part of the country,” said Davis.

Home affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the government was ”disgusted” by the ruling, describing it as ”baseless allegations against our people and our country”.

”It would have been courteous for the Canadian government to allow the South African government to respond to the allegations,” Mamoepa told News24.com.

Huntley, who grew up in Mowbray, Cape Town, said he had been attacked seven times by black South Africans and was called a ”white dog” and a ”settler”.

”There’s a hatred of what we did to them and it’s all about the colour of your skin,” Huntley reportedly said.

Huntley travelled to Canada on a six-month work permit in 2004 and returned illegally to Canada in 2005, until he made a refugee claim in April 2008, the Ottawa Sun reported. — Sapa