International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has labelled comments made by Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton as misleading, alarming and harmful to South Africa's image.
Sisulu is demanding a retraction of comments made by Dutton that South African farmers require “special attention” as there being persecuted.
LISTEN: #AustraliaVisas: ‘SA white farmers not refugees’
He added white farmers should receive fast-tracked humanitarian visas from a “civilised country” like Australia.
Sisulu says these comments couldn't be further from the truth.
“We will not allow anybody, right wing or not, to use an opportunity which we are trying to tread sensitively on and abuse that to create panic. We will not stand by that.”
Sisulu says government will not tolerate any misconception on the land reform matter.
“The impression created is that white farmers in South Africa are living under horrific conditions and there is a possibility of death. And all these barbaric things are being put across about us.”
Sisulu issued a diplomatic démarche to the Australian high commissioner to the country.
Governments use démarches to protest or object to actions by a foreign government.
Canberra’s High Commissioner to South Africa Adam McCarthy was summoned to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to receive the démarche.
McCarthy has passed Pretoria’s questions on to his capital and chosen, for now, not to comment on the démarche.
Sisulu issued an initial statement saying South Africa’s land redistribution would be handled in terms of its Constitution.
Her hand has clearly been forced by public reaction to Dutton saying privately that he was considering fast tracking visa applications from white South African farmer who, he says, are in peril of attack and losing their land.