A conservative group preparing for what its members say is an impending civil war in South Africa believes its continuous messaging and awareness campaigns have influenced an increase in conservative media coverage of the "plight" of white South Africans.
The Mail & Guardian reported on Friday that the Suidlanders were behind a coordinated campaign to "bolster international support for white South Africans".
This comes after recent controversial comments by Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton who said he wanted to expedite visa applications for white South Africans.
"I think these people deserve special attention and we're certainly applying that special attention now," he said.
His comments led to a diplomatic spat between the two countries, and last Thursday International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu issued a diplomatic demarche – or course of action – to the Australian High Commissioner in South Africa, Adam McCarthy, to demand a retraction of the comments by Dutton.
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."
Following this awareness campaign, alt-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.
Earlier this 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".
This was after the National Assembly set in motion a process to amend the Constitution so as to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation on February 27.
Five 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".
"There is no need to panic or be alarmist. The president [Cyril Ramaphosa] has already said in Parliament and in a number of public platforms whilst addressing various stakeholders that there is no need to panic."
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.
Roche told News24 on Friday that he met with Southern during the organisation's tour of the US and showed her around for about nine days when she came to South Africa with her own film crew.
But denied speaking to Hopkins and Atkinson.
"It is quite clear; if you look at the rhetoric they use, the phraseology, the terms they use, it is quite clear that they are inspired by videos and interviews we have done. They copy what we have said."
'We are not Nazis'
Roche said the Suidlanders associated themselves with Christian conservative groups and were not in talks with any other organisation in South Africa.
"It is so difficult, particularly in the modern social paradigm. If you're anything slightly rightwing, you're considered a Nazi," he said.
"We are not, never have been, and never will be. So we distance ourselves from those kinds of groups."
Roche said it was the Suidlanders' opinion that there were other Afrikaner rights groups that were sellouts.
"To us, it is indicative of people who want to play with the system. Our attitude is there is something wrong with the system. It is the system that is leading to this massive increase in farm murders and so on. We just see them as part of the global capital mess, to be quite honest."
Roche said the Suidlanders weren't interested in relocating anywhere, despite Dutton's comments.
"We don't believe in immigration, refugee status, asylum. It is not what we are about. It is something that has come out of the work we have done," he said.
"But we are strictly a civil defence organisation, constituted to safeguard the welfare of an identifiable ethnic group, namely white people of South Africa, in the event of a civil war. We are not about taking an advantage to move to Idaho or Perth."