The Australian government is considering opening its arms to white South African farmers who may soon lose their land if the South African parliament votes in favor of a proposed land expropriation program.
Home affairs minister Peter Dutton said Wednesday he feels South African farmers deserve “special attention” from Australia, considering the “horrific circumstances” of land seizures and violence they now face. Speaking with The Telegraph, Dutton said his department is examining several ways to fast-track farmers into Australia, whether it be through humanitarian or other visa programs.
The effort comes in response to new South African president Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan to seize white farmers’ land without compensation and redistribute it to Black South Africans. Ramaphosa addressed the parliament last month where he announced his intent to right the wrongs of the past by seeing “the return of the land to the people from whom it was taken … to heal divisions of the past.”
The program has been met with fierce criticism from whites. The Guardian reported that the policy has even sparked reports that white farmers are being attacked and murdered more than once a week.
Dutton now wants to lend a helping hand, noting that Australia offers refugee, humanitarian and other visa programs that could help needy white farmers. His department has explored a number of options, he said, because “from what I have seen, they do need help from a civilized country like ours.”
“We want people who want to come here, abide by our laws, integrate into our society, work hard, not lead a life on welfare,” Dutton said. “And I think these people deserve special attention and we’re certainly applying that special attention now.”
Suggested options to bring white South African farmers into Australia include the nation’s in-country persecution visa category or bringing them over on humanitarian visas. The latter option would require referrals from others in Australia, the Guardian reported.