The World

Mar 22, 2018

Politicians show their true colours over South African farmer fiasco

The real ugliness of the South African farmer question, built on spurious figures and indifference to non-white suffering, is that its cynical explanation is better than its ideological explanation.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


"The promotional video shows racks of white power-storage batteries …" a report on ABC's AM said this morning. Your correspondent heard it as "white-power storage" because the previous story had been yet another report on the bizarre, pernicious, utterly racist "white South African farmer" problem.

Here’s the point this vile issue has got to: Nationals MP Andrew Broad is opposing the notion that we should offer special immigration visas to white South African farmers not because it is an act of racist skin-selection -- ho no -- but because the farmers are too important to South African food production. The black farmers haven't "proved themselves", he noted, charmingly.

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41 thoughts on “Politicians show their true colours over South African farmer fiasco

  1. Dog's Breakfast

    I’m happy to see you going hard on this one Guy. It just shows the underlying ugliness that they have been doing their best to keep in the closet all these times.

    They are unreconstructed in their thinking, entirely not getting this idea of equality, or justice, or fairness, regardless of race, colour, religion etc. The cats out of the bag, keep it coming Guy.

  2. kyle Hargraves

    .mmm. Why doesn’t the discussion consider what is in place vis a vis immigration currently?

    “The “libertarian purist” is an old-fashioned social engineering statist when it comes to colour and culture, telling the Senate that white South Africans would “integrate better” than Rohingya Muslims.”

    Well one can foresee an argument in this regard but on the other hand the matter OUGHT to turn upon skills possessed and, if the criterion is to be observed, an assessment with reference to the citizen questionnaire (pertaining to Australia). Most of the questions are absurd but the question (real in fact – but I’ve modified it slightly) “Provide an example of freedom of speech” would be useful. The questions could be undertaken in the native language of the applicant.

    “Who else has popped up to defend the rights of this sadly oppressed group? Oh, it’s Andrew Hastie, member for Canning in Perth’s outer southern suburbs — and a base for decades of white South Africans and Zimbabweans, the latter starting to arrive after Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980.”

    Then Hastie is doing his job Guy. I’m sure the Member will appreciate you pointing out his conscientiousness to his electorate.

    “At least that racist conception is out in the open now.”

    You haven’t made an argument to this effect at all! Any country requires an immigration policy that has be in the short and long term interests of the country.
    The remark “By finding a white group that can be defined as a cultural minority” WAS the argument in the 60s & 70s that the whites ought to leave Nigeria, Kenya, Rhodesia and South Africa to the natives – although more PC terms exist nowadays.

    “the “white farmer” crisis is a beat-up.” Agreed but NOT for the reasons that you state.

    “why do “white farmers” scattered across a country count as a distinct group?”
    Why does the Country Party in Australia exist?

    “Why is this not a matter for internal South African policing policy?”
    Excellent question! Answer : what happened to the infrastructure when black-majority rule occurred?

    “To identify such a group amounts to an intervention in the internal affairs of a parliamentary democracy.”

    That is slapping it on way too thick Guy although, I concede, globally, contrary to the Treaty of Westphalia the apparent right of any country to jab its orr into the affairs of another country is becoming de rigueur; a practice that, will end in tears with some version of the Thirty Years’ War repeating itself if I’m not mistaken.

    “There were 74 farm murders, including white and black, in 2015/2016.” And what would be the response if this situation prevailed in Oz/NZ ?

    “Meanwhile, in South Africa as a whole, there are around 40-50 people murdered each day. An inner-city area such as Hillbrow — the size of Kingston or Woollahra or Fitzroy — has 103 murders a year. Many of its residents are targeted for being central African work-migrants. Where’s their visa?”

    yep : see the point made above. But you have also overlooked the TRIBALISM!

    “The content of this “white farmer” push is not merely racist”

    If ‘We are all Keynesians now’ as Friedman put it (and as Nixon exploited the phrase)then we’re probably “all racists now”! You’re correct : the topic is a ‘beat-up’ for expediency, photo opportunities or whatever. But running about with your bucket of tar and a broom isn’t helping the situation. In fact the behaviour is no more constructive that that of those effecting the “beat-up”.

    1. Ian Brown

      You are confusing refugee policy with immigration policy.

      1. kyle Hargraves

        I’m suggesting that they BOTH need to be revisited as world events change (and hitherto unforeseen situations) but such as a small subset of my submission. Neither immigration policy or refugee policy should be considered as static.

    2. Draco Houston

      You missed the point entirely with Rundle’s criticism of Leyonhjelm. An actual libertarian would back the freedom of movement for all, and not want meddlesome big government immigration policies weeding out undesirables.

      1. kyle Hargraves

        If such is as you clam why do you assert that I “missed the point”? Believe it or not legislation exists to flick dual citizens for various offenses. I’ll bet my teddy bear that the legislation will be amended to evicting former citizens for stipulated offenses. I’m not suggesting that the legislation has been applied intelligently or consistently.

        Given all the security legislation that exists, a major obligation of responsible government departments is to “weed out undesirables”. Maybe utopia does exist somewhere.

  3. Nudiefish

    The LNP’s primary interest in importing White South Africans is because they are also automatically importing LNP supporters.

    That, as been said previously, and shoving a big dirty stick up the progressives.

    1. Venise Alstergren

      NUDIEFISH: I wondered when someone would come out with the obvious “is because they are also automatically importing LNP supporters.” Well done.

      1. kyle Hargraves

        Well strictly no Venise. It has been pointed out that the new immigrants might vote for whomever gave them a hand. If the Greens were less precious (and less NIMBYist) about immigrants the votes might have gone to them. As it stands it could be LNP.

  4. Pedantic, Balwyn

    Peter Dutton’s humanitarian campaign to import white farmers has a significant flaw. 400 were not murdered last year. Think about it Peter, it would have been global news; and therefore not an announcement by a minister in the OZ government barely known outside of this country that would brought the issue to unsavoury prominence.
    However he can make amends by offering visas to tens of thousands of city dwellers in Jo’berg who are subject to violence on a daily basis, with 50 murders, 700 assaults, 35 aggravated robberies and 150 rapes per day. Now these folk would welcome a new life; so its’ a pity the overwhelming majority of them are black and seemly don’t fit Peter Dutton’s criteria.

  5. Rais

    Well stated Guy. What a boon to the good administration of our country are the Duttons and Leyonhjelms of this world. Andrew Hastie probably thinks he’s on to a good thing promoting the interests of white South Africans in his electorate. I have news for him. The statistics he probably relies on won’t tell him this but some of those South Africans aren’t white. The numerous other not-white voters in his electorate might not be impressed either. Social divisiveness can work electorally in the short term but in a single electorate he risks turning off as many voters as he attracts.

  6. kyle Hargraves

    Observations from two contributers:
    (1) “The LNP’s primary interest in importing White South Africans is because they are also automatically importing LNP supporters.”

    (2)I have news for him. The statistics he probably relies on won’t tell him this but some of those South Africans aren’t white. ”

    Let’s put the axe through the speculation guys and, if possible (from the ABS – should be possible), obtain the demographic data for the electorate. Then we can wipe the dust from our ‘Into to Probability’ texts and crunch some numbers (using the ABS data).

    As an aside, from my “jaunts” about the world people are not “just one thing” : call it X. It doesn’t follow at all that white South Africans are likely to vote LCP “automatically” upon obtaining residence or citizenship. Neither does it follow that black South Africans are “automatically” enamoured of the politics from the effects of Mandela onwards (witnessing it in practice). See remarks to crime above – to say nothing of the destruction of the universities.

    1. Sleuth

      Hey Bernard, if you’re looking for craven, look no further than Dastardly Dutton.

    2. Rais

      The reference to some of the Southern Africans in Hastie’s electorate not being white isn’t speculation, it’s personal acquaintance. Of course most of them don’t support the ANC but here in WA some of them are voting for the Greens.

      1. kyle Hargraves

        Rais, I THINK we are acquainted with sufficient mathematics (probability in this instance) to ascertain the probability of a non-white family or (n) non-white families living in ANY electorate in Oz given some very rough data. Even WITHOUT the data the probability is GOING to be greater than zero – having regard to the general demographic of the country alone.

        As to how those families vote or what they have for breakfast or are likely to move to another electorate etc (there are two topics in Crikey (ladies first : Razer and Keane) of Thursday (22Mar) issue concerning data-profiling etc. that are germane to the point) does require data. The edification of Hastie, or anyone else, is going to require data.

  7. susan ireland

    I was a little surprised to learn from Guy in yesterday’s column that, as a ‘white’ Zimbabwean, I came from South Africa. A bit like acusing Kiwis of being Aussies. Equally surprised today that ‘white’ Zimbabweans automatically vote LNP. Might surprise you to hear that some of us regard ourselves as Zimbabwean/Australian, vote somewhat to the left (well as far as is possible in Australia), and even subscribe to Crikey. I’m tired of being stereotyped.
    The shocking levels of racism that I have seen in Australia towards the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people suggest that Dutton et al reflect much of the electorate views regardless of the numbers of white South Africans therein. Don’t blame the racism on this, relatively small, group with diverse views. The problem is much larger than that.

  8. Norm

    My point of view, admittedly simplistic, is that we have already taken in more than our fair share of white S’efrican refugees, so why should we be flooding our country with more? Time for Holland and Great Britain to man up, I say.

  9. AR

    Just to leave the melanin out for a sec – Idi Amin screwed his country when expelling Indians in 1972 and enabled olde Blighty to benefit from a couple hundred thousand highly educated and ambitious new settlers.
    There’d be a lot fewer corner stores & newsagents if the Patels were to disappear off the face of cold, miserable & sodden Britain.
    Rhodesia was once a fertile country exporting food (and vast quantities of tobacco) but Zimbabwe, not so much.
    If Oz ever decides it needs a new & better great & powerful friend we could do a lot worse than Bharat.

    1. kyle Hargraves

      There is also the issue in Fiji in 1988. A democratically elected government was overthrown by an over ambitions Fijian army colonel who had no intention of permitting the Indian population anything but a very minor role in government. Willful destruction was visited upon Indian businesses (of which there was a significant numerical majority) and the residences of prominent Indian (Fijian) citizens. Apart from the newspaper reports I know ex-pats who were there at the time.

      Incidentally that was the day that I gave up on the Commonwealth. Even the Queen ignored the incident. Rabuka received nothing by praise from the governments of Oz & NZ.

  10. Jim Egan

    Guy needs to watch Michael Palin’s Cairo to Cape rail journey. It gives a snapshot of how black Africa runs a basic rail service. When Palin crosses into South Africa, it all looks western and modern and efficient… doubt an invisible white hand in control.

    Wake up to yourself Guy; your posturing can’t change the fact that black run countries in Africa have been first amongst equals in human rights abuse of their black brothers and sisters and destruction of great economic opportunities. The black takeover of white run farms in Zimbabwe has destroyed the output of some of the best agricultural land in Africa. Zimbabwe’s economy has halved in size in 20 years when it should have doubled. That means a quarter or what it should be now – a complete basket case. The chasing out of white farmers in South Africa will produce he same result as in Zimbabwe.

    1. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

      Jim, can you remember how hard it was to dislodge Apartheid? Can you remember how silent and complicit the white minority was in South Africa? Do you have any recollection of the Helen Susmans and others who visited Australia pleading with governments to dissociate from the extremes of that rank regime that ruled with violence and racism for decades, polluting the minds of its children and sowing the very seeds that are being reaped today? Well, if you can’t or won’t remember, let me remind you. South Africa under Apartheid was a repugnant, disgusting and shameful place. The tiny white minority (<20% from memory) expropriated the land and labour assets of the majority at the point of a gun and ruled with absolute murderous power for about 50 years – with the tacit support, perhaps silent and regretful, who knows? – of the white farmers who of course built wonderful, competitive productive enterprises on the backs of near-slave labour. This self-induced trauma won't be solved in a flash. But it might be solved by the very people who invented it, indulged in it and maintained it for as long as they could make it last. They live in a democracy now. Are we saying there's something wrong with democracy?

    2. LW

      ugly and ignorant comment. Never mind the history of apartheid and colonialism eh!?

    3. kyle Hargraves

      As a contributer put it recently (to the effect) “Just to leave the melanin out” [of the discussion and the matter might become clearer – my edit]

      The question for Hugh and and LW takes the form : “is there anything factually incorrect concerning the comments by Jim Egan”? If so : identify the errors.

      Secondly, (full-on) slavery existed well into the 1860s in the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. The topic was becoming an issue from the late 18th cent. and, in respect of the Empire, slavery finally got the shunt in the 1830s. This event, among others, was the principal motivation for “The Great Trek”. As to implied “white brutality” others have remarked upon Idi Admin and Rabuca. Then there was Mugabe assisting his mates in military endeavours where improved social justice was not the criterion for the engagement.

      As an aside the characteristics of South Africa and the Southern States of the USA were not dissimilar until circa the late 60s. The difference was that apartheid was codified in S.A. It is also worth mentioning that although there was a literacy suffrage in Rhodesia the lifestyle (read some history & autobiography) was quite different – and inherently “more British” (high-tea etc.) – than Dutch.

      Thirdly, I see no trace of an endorsement of apartheid of what was written (by Jim Egan); merely the obvious comparison between the economic effectiveness of regimes.

      Fourthly, it occurs to me that a good deal of the West has been “Pavloved” into particular responses given particular stimuli; especially in regard to P.C. I suggest that about 70% of all comments on the pages of Crikey are so motivated by mere stimuli. There is something of a tendency, nowadays, to read “what we think is there on a page” rather than “what is, in fact, on a page”

      Rather more could be said (regarding knee-jerk reactions) but I’ll leave it there. As to Mr Rundle I considered his coverage of the recent bi-elections rather informative but in respect to this matter he is clearly attempting to “box beyond his weight – and fitness”.

      1. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

        Kyle, a factual error in Jim Egan’s piece, and the only one I’ll bother to point out, is that Cairo is not in “black” Africa, as far as I can interpret his usage.
        Secondly, I don’t need your patronising advice to “read some history & autobiography”. Numerous acquaintances, including some displaced white farmers, from South Africa and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe plus a couple of years working in Tanzania, Congo (Brazzaville), Somalia and other parts does not feel, to me, like “mere stimuli”. But you are welcome to your view. What do you think of the special consideration being proposed by minister Dutton?

        1. kyle Hargraves

          “a factual error in Jim Egan’s piece, and the only one I’ll bother to point out, is that Cairo is not in “black” Africa, as far as I can interpret his usage.”

          Given your travels you may have encountered the large ethnic mix in Egypt; a good deal of the immigrants are from Sudan. Frankly “black Africa is not a term that I would use; it is illustrative at best but not an “error”. To be candid, the other errors do have to be identified if the objector is
          to be taken seriously (or at least a pattern of error established).

          “Numerous acquaintances, including some displaced white farmers, from South Africa and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe plus a couple of years working in Tanzania, Congo (Brazzaville), Somalia and other parts does not feel, to me, like “mere stimuli”.

          Then one might have anticipated a more informed comment – with all due respect. The gov of Vorster, to take one example, had its objectors among white South Africans; in fact the guy spent a fair proportion of the war under House Arrest/detention given his Nazi sympathies. Post Vorster (indeed pre Vorster) dalliance and cronyism hasn’t changed anywhere. Helen Zille (South African MP) is entirely correct in respect of her comments concerning colonialism. Compare the THEN and NOW in any former colony with regard to GDP or any metric of your choice.

          “What do you think of the special consideration being proposed by minister Dutton?”

          See my remark of 22 March 14:31 but here is is (again) – referring to Rundle.
          “You’re correct : the topic is a ‘beat-up’ for expediency, photo opportunities or whatever. But running about with your bucket of tar and a broom isn’t helping the situation. In fact the behaviour is no more constructive that that of those effecting the “beat-up”.”.

          The article by Greg Barns (Crikey 16 Mar/18) says it all!

      2. LW

        Are you implying, like the profoundly ignorant Jim Egan, that black Africans are naturally unable to run agriculture?
        Going by your racial-determinist outlook, black American urbanites are naturally inclined towards thuggery and drug dealing and while our own Aboriginal people are just job shy lay-abouts.
        Like Hugh said, you are welcome to your simpleton views. But what do you think about Dutton giving special consideration to a group based on the colour of their skin?

        1. kyle Hargraves

          > Are you implying, like the profoundly ignorant Jim Egan

          Mr Egan’s ignorance (or absence of it) hasn’t been established. As to “implications” my advice to you is to READ what I write (typos, errors of
          grammar etc. excepted).

          > Going by your racial-determinist outlook,
          Interesting conclusion founded upon no facts whatsoever; or, rather, to provide you with the opportunity : founded upon what facts in particular?

          > Like Hugh said, you are welcome to your simpleton views.
          Frankly it is you who is coming across as somewhat deranged but
          armed with a megaphone nevertheless. As I have conveyed : identify errors of
          fact with what Egan has written and your case will be vindicated. Bang on as you are and you are discrediting yourself. I will say this for you : you seem to have acquired (all?) the Green-party slogans for situations that confront you – so congratulations may be in order.

          > But what do you think about Dutton giving special consideration
          > to a group based on the colour of their skin?

          I’ve answered this question once today already but just for you : Dutton
          is in a marginal seat and he would remove his trousers in Pitt or Collins Sts
          if it would get him one more vote or another hour’s publicity.

          Casting an eye over what I recommended, viz., [Greg Barns (Crikey 16 Mar/18)] could have saved you the trouble.

          1. LW

            and why have black countries struggled ?

          2. LW

            I’ve answered this question once today already but just for you : Dutton
            is in a marginal seat and he would remove his trousers in Pitt or Collins Sts
            if it would get him one more vote or another hour’s publicity.

            – so your answer is: “he’s playing politics”. Well done sir. Great insight indeed. He’s an hypocritical gutter racist playing to his racist base and no doubt he is making a play to disrupt the Liberal party.

          3. Venise Alstergren

            “Like Hugh said, you are welcome to your simpleton views.” I know I won’t get thanked for this, but surely the word should have been simplistic?

        2. kyle Hargraves

          This is the only “slot” that Crikey is providing for a reply to your question
          “why have black countries struggled”

          Having some background in Developmental Economics I can say that the explanations are remarkably similar to all countries in Africa with the possible exception of North Africa. As I have pointed out in these pages Tribalism is the #1 impediment for social or economic progress in Africa. There was an instance in Rwanda which most of the world (has) considered to be a once-off. Frankly,
          with sufficient organisation and supplies a similar incident could appear anywhere.

          Secondly, consider the D.R. Congo (formally Zaire) as a representative example. As I have pointed out previously [in other posts] that the country has (1) extensive natural
          resources and (2) climate but plagued by absurd population growth (it will quadruple [at 4%] in about 35 years) and bizarre government. Also, on that point and highly representative of the countries in Africa, is the duration of autocratic government. In the case of D.R. Congo it is approaching 20 years. Even in the (rather more British) Kenya (democratic) transfer of government to the former opposition is resisted.

          Its [D.R. Congo] GDP is almost entirely from the Primary Sector (and indicator or a 3rd world country; 1st world countries have established tertiary sectors) and its dalliance in regard to international aid (extensive world trips for a “tribe” of
          family members – all 1st class – etc) has finally caught up with the place [see recent article on the BBC regarding this topic]. As one BBC reporter conveyed : “it is a country littered with tears and mass graves” Not to be confused but do take a look at the human rights in respect of the Pygmies in the Republic of the Congo.

          It has been pointed out in respect of this topic that the nice white British banned slavery in the 1830s. The nasty others wished to continue the practice and did continue the practice until near enough to the 20th century.

          I suggest that those uncomfortable reading this account undertake some travelling. Except for North Africa the remainder of the continent is a scammer’s paradise and only a return of 19th century colonialism will correct it – but we’ll see how the Chinese faire. As an aside watch you baggage even in reasonable hotels because emails from people whom you have never heard of will be in contact with you with an astonishing accurate account of your travels – often accompanied with photographs. Small items of sentimental value will be entrusted to the post office (risky) en route to your home country after the correct amount of compensation for recovery (on your behalf) has been paid via Western Union (only). As to 21st century colonialism China is the expert and is doing very well (thank you) in Africa.

          Summarising the answer, in no particular order, the reason that black countries struggle is because of :
          (1) ineptness and cronyism
          (2) autocratic regimes with little/no regard for Opposition parties
          (3) fraud and corruption
          (4) absurdly high birth rates
          (5) no strategic plan (e.g. education & training) to transfer from Primary to Tertiary (too much vested interest)
          (6) no systematic strategic plan to improve infrastructure that will assist the economy
          (6) tribalism and petty armed conflicts – often family (or ethnically) motivated
          (7) and, of late, religious fundamentalism – as often as not

          Sociological surveys have been undertaken and the old people (even in Jamaica) prefer “old-style” colonialism to what they have now.

          Sentimentalism is bad policy LV!

        3. kyle Hargraves

          As to your remarks concerning Dutton, LV, such remarks do to get us very far. All Dutton has to do, in defense, is to ascertain something about you that COULD be
          objectionable in some context.

          A much more responsible (and constructive) approach is to identify the policies of Dutton and SHOW that they are either impractical, irrational, not cost-effective or whatever. It might take a bit of work but it is the only useful approach. It is also permanent. In a slanging match both parties become covered in manure in rather short order.

    4. Rais

      Jim, when I travelled by train up from Capetown to Johannesburg a couple of years after Apartheid officially ended the train was efficient but by no means Western standards. It would have been made up of the carriages they used to use for the Black and Coloured people, reminiscent of the third class carriages in India. If you had something better they must have upgraded as the older carriages wore out or maybe you were paying more than we did.

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