Sisulu demands retraction from Australia on land redistribution comments

Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Lindiwe Sisulu. (David Harrison, M&G)

Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Lindiwe Sisulu. (David Harrison, M&G)

Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Lindiwe Sisulu on Thursday issued a diplomatic demarche – or course of action – to Australian high commissioner in SA Adam McCarthy, to demand a retraction of the comments made by their home affairs minister Peter Dutton, over the SA land redistribution process.

“It was communicated to the high commissioner [in a meeting on Thursday] that the South African government is offended by the statements which have been attributed to the Australian home affairs minister and a full retraction is expected,” spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said.

“The high commissioner, who was accompanied by his deputy high commissioner, undertook to immediately communicate with the Australian government to convey the message from the minister and South African government.”

Dutton was quoted in the Australian media saying that his department was looking into methods that would facilitate the fast-tracking of visas for white South African farmers who want to relocate to that country.

Dutton, who also holds the ministerial post for immigration and border protection, told The Guardian that white South African farmers “deserve special attention” because of the “horrific circumstances” of land seizures and violence in the country.

‘AfriForum spreading incorrect information’
Mabaya said in a statement on Wednesday that it regretted that the Australian government “chose not to use the available diplomatic channels to raise concerns or to seek clarification on the land redistribution process”.

“The department is, however, engaging with the Australian government on this matter. It must be stated again that President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu, have said on a number of public platforms and also when engaging with different stakeholders, that the process of land redistribution would be orderly, within South African laws and taking into consideration both the social and economic impact,” Mabaya said.

“We call on organisations such as AfriForum that are spreading incorrect information sowing panic and fear, to refrain from doing so. The South African government has been very clear and transparent on a land reform process and the matter is now before Parliament. All stakeholders will be consulted and they are also encouraged to engage with Parliament.

“There is no reason for any government anywhere in the world to suspect that any South African is in danger from their own democratically-elected government. That threat simply does not exist.” – News24

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