Despite his own government pretty much telling him to get back in his lane, Australian Home Affairs minister, Peter Dutton, says he is considering “several applications” from South African farmers for refugee status in the country.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said that Australia had apologised, but Dutton says it’s not so.
Speaking to Sky News, Dutton says he stands by his comments and insisted that South African farmers need protection.
“I’m not sure what domestic issues are at play in terms of the politics in South Africa that would bring this comment out but it’s not based on any factual statement of anyone within the Australian government,” Dutton told Sky News.
“And in fact we’re having a look at several now,” he said. Dutton also said hat farmers deserved “special attention” because they faced violence and land seizures.
Dutton’s comments came in the wake of increased right-wing media focus in South Africa.
A number of so-called “alt-right” commentators have reported on South Africa’s farm workers recently, with some even going so far as spreading the myth that there is a “white genocide” happening int he country.
While farm murders are an issue, South Africa is a country that faces violent crime across the board.
Africa Check recently released a detailed fact-sheet on farm murders in the country. The organisation noted:
The police’s latest statistics show that there were 74 farm murders in 2016/17.
According to the official definition, the victims could include people “residing on, working on or visiting farms and smallholdings”. Experts say that estimating this total population is difficult, if not impossible.
“It may be problematic to use an estimate of all people living on farms depending on what data is used for murders and attacks,” Gareth Newham, head of the crime and justice programme at the Institute for Security Studies, told Africa Check.
“It is likely that many of the figures for farm attacks and murders on farms collected by organised agricultural or the SAPS for that matter, would not contain all the attacks or murders of non-farmers.”
Until an accurate estimate of the number of people “residing on, working on or visiting farms and smallholdings” is released, it will not be possible to calculate a farm murder rate.