More marches for South Africa planned in Australia

One of the organisers of the "March for South Africa" event in Brisbane, Australia, said that more rallies have been planned for the next month.

Arno Nel, who has been living in Australia for 17 years, said the group was happy about the number of people who supported the march on Sunday. About 2 000 people attended the march.

"The motivation for this march was to show Australia that we support [its Home Affairs Minister Peter] Dutton's comments about visas for white South African farmers," Nel said.

Earlier this month, Dutton sparked controversy when he said: "I think these people deserve special attention and we're certainly applying that special attention now."

The comments were made shortly after the National Assembly set into motion and process to allow the amendment of the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation.

Diplomatic spat

His words led to a diplomatic spat between Australia and South Africa. International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu later issued a diplomatic demarche, or course of action, to Australian High Commissioner in South Africa Adam McCarthy, to demand that Dutton retract his comments.

Nel said he and the other organisers were planning more marches in Perth, Sydney and Adelaide to raise awareness about developments in South Africa.

"We know it is a sensitive and emotional issue speaking about refugee visas. We are not saying South Africans are more important or needy of these visas than refugees from Syria, but we are only speaking about assistance to farmers," he said.

"I feel the people should be given an opportunity to bring over their families. We're doing this because it is important to show Australia and people like Dutton that we support their statements."

READ: 'None of the uncertainty' in Australia - SA farming couple who moved Down Under

In a letter handed over to Andrew Laming - federal member for the Bowman district in Brisbane, Queensland - the organisers of the march said violent crime was rampant in South Africa and affected all its communities.

"The racial elements of farm murders in South Africa are easily politicised, as was evident this week in a range of political statements," the letter said.

"These elements are an unfortunate result of the entrenchment of race in public policies in South Africa, both in the form of colonial and apartheid policies imposed by white minority governments and restorative black economic empowerment policies of democratic governments since 1994."

"The complexities underlying the violence are also simplified and often skewed to suit political agendas."

READ: Human Rights Watch slams Australian minister over immigration offer to white SA farmers

The letter said South Africans prided themselves on self-sufficiency and called on the Australian government to allow their families to join them in a country "where law and order" were maintained.

"We remain painfully aware that many of our family members who are not farmers remain exposed to unacceptable levels of violent crime," the letter said.

"There are currently applications already submitted to bring family members to the safety of Australia. We would, therefore, like to request that these applications be expedited to ensure that these family members are not affected by the violence in South Africa."

'Murder rate of white people'

Last week, News24 reported that conservative group The Suidlanders were behind a massive awareness campaign which they believed was the reason for increased coverage of the "dire situation" in South Africa.

Suidlanders spokesperson Simon Roche told News24 on Friday that the organisation embarked on an extensive awareness campaign in the US last year and met with organisers and journalists from the conservative right.

"We went to the USA to raise awareness of what is happening in South Africa. We used the examples of farm murders and the murder rate of white people to illustrate the principle that things are not kosher in South Africa," Roche said.

"And that has basically led to this thing, for example, Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton saying that he will consider expediting the visa applications of white farmers. It all stems back to that USA tour. It all stems back to the massive alternative media awareness that we created in the USA."

READ: SA conservative group takes credit for increased 'white genocide' awareness

Following this awareness campaign, alternative right and conservative media personalities such as Lauren Southern and Katie Hopkins have come to South Africa to report on the supposed dangers faced by white South Africans.

Last month, UK Independence Party member Janice Atkinson was condemned after she wrote to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson asking him to step in and prevent South Africa from becoming "another Zimbabwe".

A few days later, Sisulu urged the international community not to panic over Parliament's decision. Sisulu said she had "noted a number of international organisations and individuals commenting on the parliamentary processes in South Africa in relation to land distribution".

She said Ramaphosa had stressed that the matter was "being handled properly for the benefit of all South Africans".

Sisulu added that the views and concerns of all South African stakeholders would be considered during the parliamentary processes.

When News24 called the Department of International Relations and Co-operation on Monday to ask for comment about the recent march, spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said the department had "said everything we wanted to say on the matter".

READ: Australian minister Dutton is 'an out-and-out racist'

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