Vulnerability Of White Sa Farmers Cannot Be Downplayed

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, has described the response of the SA Foreign Ministry to the remarks of his colleague, Peter Dutton, on white South African farmers, as “over the top.” The same and more applies to the Mercury’s editorial of March 16.

While agreeing that the issue of expropriation of land without compensation is indeed “volatile,” the Mercury’s attempt to downplay the vulnerability of white farmers along with the cartoon it published depicting Australia as racist, is insensitive and inaccurate. For the record, anyway, Australia abandoned its whites-only immigration policy in 1958.

Claiming that there is “no evidence to support the notion that white farmers are targeted more than anyone else in the country” may have relevance in terms of broad statistics, but when contextualised your assertion lacks credibility. For nowhere during peacetime conditions has a particular sector of the population been subjected to such ongoing brutality and murder.

The attacks on white farmers have been described as “not normal criminality” in that their perpetration has frequently involved “brutal torturing in a most barbaric way.” Yes, black farm workers have also been subjected to the same onslaught. According to Dr Pieter Groenewald of the Freedom Front of the 3,100 killings on farms since 1990, forty percent of the victims were black.

Despite the fact that statistics on this subject are disputed by the likes of Africa Check, there can be no denial of the vulnerability of white farmers to violent, fatal attacks. In 2017 alone, 71 farmers were murdered. Has the Mercury forgotten the reason for the country-wide Black Monday protest by farmers last October?

Although President Ramaphosa has decreed that land seizures will not be tolerated, by irresponsibly endorsing the principle of “expropriation without compensation,” he has initiated a Pandora’s box of speculation and emotion.

Given the insecure state of white farmers, the Australian Minister of Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, is not wrong in expressing sympathy for South African white farmers. In fact, he deserves credit for recognising their vulnerability which is more than the ANC government has done in 20 years.

It is also pleasing to note that Dutton’s stance is supported not only by Australia’s opposition Labor party, whose Senator Kim Carr has endorsed Dutton’s views but that there is growing support from Western Australia to Queensland for a humanitarian approach to the plight of SA white farmers and severe criticism of the “do nothing ” approach of SA politicians.

(see: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, March 16, Qld MP Andrew Leming).

Sent into The Mercury and published, March 17, 2018.

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