Were Turnbull’s Comments About South Africans Fearing Persecution Enough? We Don’t Think So

Africa, Australian Politics, Law, Leadership, Malcolm Turnbull, Rundown, South Africa

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has finally spoken directly to the issue of white persecution in South Africa saying Australia’s humanitarian program is open to South Africans but offers no special category for them. Malcolm went on to say he “raised these concerns with the South African government” and that “[Australia] raise(s) concerns on a consular basis as we do in many parts of the world.” This is a step in the right direction, but, considering the circumstances, is it enough?

It seems like the Prime Minister is playing it safe and has only provided some passive and subtle vindication regarding the struggles of the South African people saying only it’s an option for South Africans, but do not receive any special recognition regarding their status for being racially targeted by a tyrannical and hostile new government.

This speaks volumes to Australia’s official stance on South Africans’ situation, considering that South Africans applying for Refugee status for being targeted by their government will be eligible for the same humanitarian visa process as people fearing persecution in countries that are not officially targeting large categories of people. Essentially, a Brazilian fearing persecution will see the same priority as a South African.

Turnbull also seems to have been soft on the South African government by simply “raising concerns on a consular basis…” a practice appropriate when it comes to the worrisome reforms of a certain sector of the government or a worrisome economic incentive of a country, but a radical lack of strength when dealing with a tyrannical racist government who has surrounded itself with cabinet members that speak openly about their disdain for a whole category of people and their intent to kill them in large numbers.

A good first step has been taken by recognizing the concerning actions on behalf of the government of South Africa, but the reaction on behalf of the Australian government has been underwhelming and lacking in proportionality.

Emilio Garcia
Deputy Editor, The Unshackled
Host of the Front and Center Podcast