SA’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation is unimpressed with an offer from Australia’s conservative government to fast-track visas for white South African farmers.
Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, said the move would allow them to flee their “horrific circumstances” for a “civilised country”.
Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya told the BBC that no section of the country’s population was in any danger and there was “no need for anyone to be scared or to fear anything”.
“The land redistribution programme will be done according to the law,” he said.
“We remain a united nation here in SA — both black and white.”
Dutton, who oversees immigration and has drawn international criticism for heading a tough crackdown on asylum-seekers from Asia and the Middle East, said the South Africans deserved “special attention” for acceptance on refugee or humanitarian grounds.
He cited reports of land seizures and violence targeting the white farmers.
“If you look at the footage, you hear the stories and you read the accounts, it’s a horrific circumstance that they face,” Dutton told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph late on Wednesday.
“I’ve asked my department to look at options and ways in which we can provide some assistance because I do think on the information I’ve seen people do need help, and they need help from a civilised country like ours.”
Dutton’s comments come just months after asylum-seekers and refugees held by Australia in a remote Pacific camp were awarded A$70m (US$56m) for being illegally detained and treated negligently in the country’s largest human rights class action settlement.
Canberra, which denied liability, sends asylum-seekers who try to reach Australia by boat, rather than through official channels, to facilities on Nauru in the Pacific and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.
Dutton said that those wanting to leave might be considered under the “in-country persecution” visa category, or through a refugee-humanitarian programme.
Normally South Africans have to apply under other categories, including as a skilled worker or through family connections. Nearly 200,000 South Africans already live in Australia.