South African Farmers Are Having A Hard Time
There are a number of South African farmers in the ‘Flow Region’ particularly the Mallee/Murray districts. They are essential assets for the agricultural industry in the region. The problem for many of these workers is that they have come into the country on 457 visas and lack the security of permanent residency.
Many of the farmers and their families have been subjected to sporadic violence including rape and murder. There are assertions that this violence is part of a campaign by the ruling party, the African National Congress, to expropriate white farmers’ land. The Prime Minister, Cyril Ramaphosa, has said that the theft of black land by ‘white colonialists’ is the original sin of South Africa. The constitution has been amended to allow the expropriation of white owned land in the ‘public interest’. But the South African Government has refused to pass a law allowing the expropriation of white owned land.
At the present time white South Africans own 73% of the land even though they constitute only 10% of the population. Blacks own only 5%of arable land. On the other hand whites are disadvantaged in employment where there is positive discrimination in favour of blacks when it comes to employment and promotion.
South Africa is a violent country and crime statistics are unreliable but there is no evidence that whites are more subject to violence than blacks. Canadian courts have examined the evidence of political persecution and found that white South Africans have invariably been the victims of standard crimes rather than politically motivated violence.
In 2018 then Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, expressed a view that there should be a special humanitarian category for South Africans who had been subjected to violent attack.
"It's an horrific circumstance that they face and Australia has a refugee and humanitarian program — as well as a number of other visa programs — where we have the potential to help some of these people that are being persecuted," he told The Daily Telegraph.
"I think these people deserve special attention and we are certainly applying that special attention now."
However when a farming family applied for refugee resettlement in 2019 they were rejected.
There appeared to be two reasons for this: Cyril Ramaphosa objected strongly to claims by Mr. Dutton that white farmers were being politically persecuted and legally the farmers did not qualify for refugee status.
The Department of Immigration investigated the legal situation and found that restrictions in the law designed to keep out asylum seekers from other countries would limit access by South Africans. An examination of race relations in the country showed that in big cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town there was very little racial friction and whites were not particularly discriminated against. Moreover there was no government backed expropriation of farm land.
The Department has been working to resettle South Africans using other visa categories. So far 250 applications from South Africans have been approved since 2008.
There have been allegations of ‘reverse racism’ being applied to the South Africans but it appears that there is no discrimination one way or another when it comes to the application of refugee law. You have the same chance of getting into Australia as a South African farmer as you would if you were a Sri Lankan Tamil.