Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
1 minute read
23 Mar 2018
6:35 am

Farmers’ union says Aussie visa offer should be a wake-up call

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The Transvaal Agricultural Union of SA says the ANC should rethink its land policy, as 33 000 farmers obviously can't leave.

A farm worker on a tractor works a field on a farm in the Oudtshoorn district of the Klein Karoo in the Western Cape province of South Africa. File image.

Despite the Australian government pushing ahead with a plan to encourage white South African farmers to emigrate to the country, the Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa (TAU-SA) is not convinced this is the best solution to the public stand-off over land.

Union spokesperson Bennie van Zyl said he wanted parliament to see Australia’s move as a warning that expropriation of land without compensation would put the country in a bad light internationally.

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton pushed back at his critics yesterday, saying he would go ahead with plans for a fast-tracked visa process for white South African farmers.

Speaking to an Australian radio station, he said his critics were “dead” to him.

“The crazy lefties at the ABC and on The Guardian, Huffington Post can express concern and draw mean cartoons about me and all the rest of it,” he added.

A diplomatic spat ensued last week when he initially expressed concern about the plight of white farmers here, saying they needed to flee the “horrific circumstances” with the aid of a “civilised country”.

But Van Zyl said the statements should be seen as a warning for the ANC to rethink its land policy.

“I think the ANC must put its hand in its own pockets and make a decision on what is going on abroad and see that something is wrong in South Africa.

“Obviously 33 000 farmers can’t go to Australia. That is going to cost you and it’s not as if South African farmers have a lot of money.”

The Australian government has yet to respond to International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s demand for a retraction of Dutton’s statements.

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