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by Dr Etienne Hugo
The recent case of Brandon Huntley, a white South African who was granted asylum in Canada, made big news in the international community. It was interesting to note the fierce reaction from various interest groups – both from within South Africa and from South Africans living abroad. Some criticise him for being a ‘queue jumper' and traitor; others are fascinated by him pulling off the almost unthinkable. I have over the past 10 years of practice been asked by many South African clients if there would be ‘refugee visa options' available for Australia, given the high levels of crime and racial tension in South Africa.

The law in Australia

Australia is signatory to the United Nations 1951 Convention and also the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. People who are found to be refugees are eligible to be granted a protection visa for Australia. A refugee is a person who is:

1. outside his or her country of nationality or his or her usual country of residence;

2. unable or unwilling to return or to seek the protection of that country due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion; and

3. not a war criminal or person who has committed serious non-political crimes.

In Australia, this definition of a refugee is qualified in the Migration Act, and in case law. Sections 91R and 91S of the Migration Act define persecution as involving “serious harm” to the applicant. Serious harm involves a threat to life or liberty, significant physical harassment or ill treatment, or significant economic hardship or denial of access to basic services or denial of capacity to earn a livelihood. The High Court of Australia further has indicated

that the harm can be directed at a person as an individual or as a member of a group.

What is persecution?

The persecution must have an official quality, in the sense that it is official, or officially tolerated or uncontrollable by the authorities of the country of nationality. Persecution implies an element of motivation on the part of those who persecute for the infliction of harm. People are persecuted for something perceived about them or attributed to them by their persecutors.

The persecution that the applicant fears must be for one or more of the reasons enumerated in the Convention definition: Race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The phrase “for reasons of” serves to identify the motivation for the infliction of the persecution. Persecution for multiple motivations will not satisfy the relevant test unless a Convention reason or reasons constitute at least the essential and significant motivation for the persecution feared.

The fear factor

An applicant's fear of persecution for a Convention reason must be a “well-founded” fear. This adds an objective necessity to the requirement that an applicant must in fact hold such a fear.

A person has a “well-founded fear” of persecution under the Convention if they have genuine fear founded upon a “real chance” of persecution for a Convention stipulated reason. A fear is well-founded where there is a real substantial basis for it, but not if it is assumed or based on mere speculation. A “real chance” is one that is not remote or insubstantial or a far-fetched possibility.

No protection

Importantly, applicants must be unable, or unwilling because of their fear, to avail themselves of the protection of their country or countries of nationality. This will most likely be the reason a protection visa application will fail for a South African asylum seeker.

Protection visa for Australia?

The Refugee Review Tribunal in Australia has accepted that South Africa has a substantially high crime rate. However, to date there are no reported decisions that attribute the violence and crime in South Africa to a Convention-based reason (that is, ethnicity, religion or membership of a particular social group). Furthermore, the tribunal has acknowledged that certain groups may be more vulnerable, and therefore more susceptible to being seriously harmed, but the tribunal has found it difficult to attribute that harm directly to a Convention-based reason.

For a protection visa case to be successful in Australia, a strong case would need to be established, and that would depend on the applicants' individual circumstances in South Africa and whether they had been specifically targeted for a Convention based reason. Given the recent Canadian decision, there may well be a case to consider, especially if one can formulate persecution on the basis of membership of a particular social group. For example, ‘actual or perceived affluent or privileged South African', or dare I say ‘actual or perceived racially prejudiced white living in South Africa'?

Dr Etienne Hugo is a South African born lawyer based in Australia. He is the legal practitioner director of Teleo Immigration, a leading Sydney based law firm specialising in Australian immigration law.

Posted in migration |
Posted by Dr Etienne Hugo
29 Oct 2009

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Rating: 2 / 5
by mike smith on 17 Dec 2015

I live in South-africa and i am also fearing for my life and the future of my children that i will have one day. Opportunities are becoming leas for young youth here. Also my grandfather have been a victim murdered on his farm..the crime is too high, can't go anywhere at night alone as i am afraid of getting high jacked. I was mugged once with a knife against my throat for my phone?? I honestly feel suffocated in my own country and i honestly can't live like this anymore. I am making plan to leave this country for good. Better get out why you can. Our lives are being threatened..
Rating: 5 / 5
by Chay on 07 Dec 2015

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Rating: 1 / 5
by Jack on 28 Oct 2015

I have no one but my mother and I am 35 years ald from Somalia life in South Africa I have no future but the world help plz my English is not okay I will make more explanation plz if there's hope help me plz
Rating: 1 / 5
by mohamed on 19 Aug 2015

How do I get a visa. My mom and dad, brother and his family, sister and her family all live in Perth. I am a white male, married with a large family and am unable to get work because of my colour. Does this fall into - "Serious harm involves a threat to life or liberty, significant physical harassment or ill treatment, or significant economic hardship or denial of access to basic services or denial of capacity to earn a livelihood." Can I qualify for the visa as I am denied capacity to earn a livlihood based on my colour?
Rating: 5 / 5
by Tony on 26 May 2015

What I think is south Africa is one big stuff up I managed to get my son and daughter out of south Africa and are doing very well in other parts of the world there is no place in south Africa for white people young south Africans must get out before it is too late there is absolutely no future for them.
Rating: 5 / 5
by derek on 09 May 2015

hi everyone,am jamie,i have been living in South Africa for 2 years and one month plus now with a refugee permit,i fled from my country because of religion problem from one of my parent and prosecution neighbors,with the help of my uncle i was able to fly over here with a visitor visa,for God so good i have meet a guardian here who took me as their own child and love me beyond my biological parent,now am having lot of problem because, with refugee permit which i av to go renew every four month in musina,and i live with my south Africa parent in rand burg,to be able to do lot of positive and future things for my life if very hard,i cant travel over seas,getting a job was so tough that my same parent end up starting a business for me(corporate gift,stationary,office supplies,event planning and management,now i wanna go back to school to further my education for better future and greater opportunities, so i have been roaming all around the home affairs to at least help me with a study permit that can be issue on my passport,so that i can be able to settle down more,and focus on my study and small business,my parent as also try to abduct me legally as a son since we been living for like 2years now and am already a son to them and they my parent,but still home affairs say because i am 26years old,it not allow or they wont be able to do that,now my mum is so worried about me and it been affecting her health and am so scared and i don't wanna lose her,because she and her husband my dad has given me life and hope,we are all so worried that we don't know where to turn to or look into,i have also call the nigeria high commission and consulate,they say they cant help,but i believe someone out there can get this and know who they can help us of be of help,thats why am poring my heart out in public,please i really need help from anyone who can help me,maybe direct me to a office that can help me with permit from wanting to change from a refugee permit or my parent should be able to abduct me legally,please feel free to email me,i will be glad of any help i can get from any one,i really need a messiah. here is my email; jamiekarem@yahoo.com
Rating: 5 / 5
by jamie on 08 Apr 2015

I'm a white South African but I love my country, I get along with blacks, coloreds and whites. If Zuma steals R200m to build him a house its his problem, I always say as long as it doesn't effect me, I have never voted and nor will I ever, our country was voted more than once the best tourist destination in the world, I live in one of South Africas most wealthiest areas and crime doesn't effect me at all, I avoid areas where crime is high. I have my concerns about the future and maybe in a few years we will be forced to leave South Africa, but I believe the white population still have a great influence and will stand up if they need to, everything the ANC stands for is a lie, and their own people is the ones who suffer as a result who still live in shacks. I get in my car and can still safely go to the restaurant around the corner or the waterfront and I don't have anything to fear. I rather life in South Africa a 1000 over rather than countries at war who do kill innocent people by the masses, look at Iraq... Nigeria... I think the problem is when they look at America they think about the a perfect life and world like they see on the movies, but even in the USA you have people who sleep on the streets and who get killed, even Oprah Winfrey was at a time called a black nigger. Look at London, who wants to live in that cold?? I lived in New Zealand for three years and I had the option to stay and get residency, but I still come back to my country. Education is the problem and the people who feel they suffer because of apartheid, well good luck for them because tomorrow they still going to burn tyres and life in a shack while their president drink expensive champagne, and apartheid? What is that???? I was born in 1984 and guess what, I can't even remember apartheid, so all the best to those who live in the past and feel their an sisters was deprived
Rating: 5 / 5
by Rudie on 28 Dec 2014

I'm a white South-African male, in South-Africa. I stay in Gauteng. In the last 10 years I've been carjacked 3 times. Armed robbery in the house twice, where they actually tie you and your whole family up... Not to even mention the small petty crimes, like pickpocketing, House Break-ins, theft, stock theft, cable theft, or fraud (which NOBODY gets convicted for in S.A, especially when you have money) I have finally decided to leave S.A in January 2015. The only decision I need to make, is do determine between Canada and Australia... Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer will not apply to me nor my family... Can you please advise me on making the right decision for a better future for me and my family ? Thanks & Regards. Pierre
Rating: 5 / 5
by Pierre Rossouw on 18 Dec 2014

I like to go the is great country
Rating: 1 / 5
by moha on 11 Nov 2014

Goodday sir/ma I am from Nigeria and I am a refugee in south Africa,but I find it so hard to even eat a meal,my friend deceive me to come to south Africa but now she's no where to be found,things have been hard for me and its getting worst everyday by day,please I really need to go back home,I am a Nigeria lady and I love my country,I had learnt my lesson,I hardly feed myself,Nigeria high commission I really need your help,I want to go back home,please dont let me live miserable in south Africa,I need to go home,please for the sake of GOD....thank you
Rating: 5 / 5
by selina on 16 Sep 2014

Dr Etienne Hugo, I came across this article today, I know is been a long time but I thought you might have some knowledge on this topic and I have some questions that need some advise on, I was wondering if you could send me an email and if I could email you back with some questions that you may have the answers to. Thanking you kindly
Rating: 5 / 5
by Tessa Watcham on 01 Sep 2014

I live in South Africa but im a refugee so im fear in my life I want live this country&want to go another country if u give me opportunity God bless u
Rating: 1 / 5
by kinfe on 28 Jul 2014

I salute in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ Amen. I am a Nigeria,I base in South Africa as a Refugee for a year plus now. I love South Africa , and I hard a South Africa families here. But , I wanna leave South Africa to Australia due to discrimination about Nigeria issues , most South Africans always feels that all Nigeria are Drugs dealers and fraud stars. I most confess this has been on and I don't wanna regret been a Nigeria so I decided to leave South Africa for personal reason I experience in Soweto, I once staying in South Africa due to I could not pay my House rent in Town,so I relocated to South Africa , after a few month they started fighting me and accusing me of Drugs dealing, I most confess if none that I quickly rough to the police station and they now followed me to my House and settle the issues with my Land Lord and His friends who where fighting me , and the police now advices me to pack out within few days to avoid them wish I actually moved out. I am a Nigeria but I don't smoke anything smoking and I don't drink Alcohol and I don't have any criminal record here in South Africa,I am a born again Christian and I respect the law of the Land as God command us in His words to respect the Authority. I will be glad if given me assistance to travel to South Africa. Thanking you for your anticipation. God bless Australia.
Rating: 5 / 5
by okoh on 09 Jun 2014

Ha! Well Mandela passed away last year and there hasn't been a war. 2014 elections have come and gone without war. Doomsayers just quit with your doomsaying tendencies. South Africa isn't perfect but it is still standing. White Saffas should really quit whining and being spoilt brats, crime in SA affects EVERYONE. FYI whites hold economic power in SA and majority of blacks are still poor 20 years into "democracy" the old government setup still exists.
Rating: 3 / 5
by Jane on 26 May 2014

Sir, i live in orange farm location of south africa. But i'm refugee, so south african people bit me alltime, i want to leave this country & want to go another country, if u give me opportunity.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Habibur Rahman Miah on 02 Feb 2014

My heart goes out to you guys , we escaped in 1995 and it was not easy, I have many clients who are fresh off the boat. The main problem, finding employment. My advice is get your kids into Nursing, Teaching, I.T and other sought after positions. I like everyone went on the roller coaster ride and finally after 14 years became self employed. I can only give my opinion and I thank God everyday that we were able to leave. ViVa Melbourne.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Stretch on 23 Apr 2013

April 8th ,2013 Jerusalem-Israel PRESS RELEASE:” Appointment of a New Consul Of South Africa on Holocaust Day” To whom it concerns In the City of God,Jerusalem,in the Holy Land at 16h00 local time on Holocaust Memorial Day; a new leader & president of the “Consul of the New South Africa” has been anointed and appointed as a result of the atrocities , murders, rapes and other extreme violence committed against Citizens of South Africa and others that reside in the land. The name of the honorable president of the new South Africa is Mr Robin Denton. The consul have full power and on the 15th April, 2013 – a day of freedom and independence to the persecuted minorities of South Africa is declared. We advise all veterans in the land -and out of the land of South Africa – victims of families that have been assaulted to light a memorial candle to the martyrs and the families. We call on ALL governments , organizations and humanitarian bodies to bring to justice ALL leaders, laymen and members of government that collaborate with these groups of terrorists, rapists and murders; and to bring them before international bodies like the ICC-Hague & the ECHR. Please prepare pictures and evidence material to be held in the very near future and collected by the secretary of National Security of the New South Africa Consul. Send reports and evidence to the email below. The whole day of the 15th of April is a mark of the establishing of the new Godly and Righteous South Africa. May God bless and keep us all! Note: Please send this PRESS RELEASE and declaration and circulate it worldwide to the media , TV, INTERNET and anyone who is a victim of any kind of violent crime committed since the rule of the ANC. This also includes those who have driven into exile by this violence and insecurity and this irresponsible and unrighteous government. We call on all NPOs and international AID bodies to stop funding and supporting of this unjust, murderous ,immoral government of South Africa. The money has been used to assist to cover and to enable this bloodbath of many thousands of peoples in the last 20 years. Please send your name and mailing address and be quick to volunteer and you will counted amongst the Righteous of God. We need you to join us physically and in any other way to volunteer in our struggle and to be ready to travel and to help. The blood of the martyrs cry out for justice in our land... !!!-who will answer the cry and honor of our women and our sisters and our children. What will you do now?Please stand in honor of the 68798 victims of race hate crimes ( white)- and others missing, murdered( many others of all races) – for the widows and the orphans and the families of our men and women fallen heroes and refugees around the world. I thank you. The Honorable President of the Consul of the New South Africa Mr. Robin Denton oneworldnewz@gmail.com ref. www.thetruthaboutsouthafrica.com
Rating: 1 / 5
by robin on 09 Apr 2013

I'm a 5th generation Australian who goes to SA every second year to visit friends. It's a great country and I look forward to going there and did live there for 7 years. Anyone who thinks they have a right to refugee status is bonkers.
Rating: 4 / 5
by kevin francis on 21 Jan 2013

So, I see some people say white South Africans deserve the persecution many now experience (see Lloyd's response); which just gives a lesson in the human psyche. Why is it that, throughout history, each new majority persecutes the new minority, and seems to feel this is okay? People say you shouldn't do that, for example, murder, and what is the first thing someone says of a murderer? Hang him!? Why is there always a call for revenge, and usually it's the same revenge people have cried out against in the first place!? Unless patterns of the past are healed and stopped, there will never be peace. Going by what Lloyd says, it's okay for black South Africans to persecute white South Africans, because white South Africans persecuted black South African. Hai kona!!! I fail to see the logic in that and I strongly disagree! Lloyd writes, 26 May 2012 "I read your stories and gues what it was you people who created it...with your apartheid...voting for a white government watching while innocent black people got shambocked going to work,...I saw it with my own eyes...so shut up and do not try your apartheid trickes in Australia"
Rating: 5 / 5
by Cycles on 15 Nov 2012

I have been through 2 armed robberies and have lost 2 cars and they have broken into another house where I lived and stole everything including cutlery. As a white SA male I get intimidated everyday by black taxi drivers. We have joined the Linmeyer awareness group on Facebook (where we live now)and are horrified by what we read everyday, armed robberies etc. There is a tension in this country that you can’t explain to anybody not living here. I wish you could listen to Talk Radio 702, you will be shocked. The police are more corrupt than the criminals who outsmart them and really does get away with rape & murder. The security companies who creates a false sense of security are just as useless. On the day of our armed robbery, the investigating police officer told us that the security guard on duty has been involved in previous armed robberies. Yet nothing was done about that, needless to say, the crooks are still at large. We have moved because the robbers told us that they will return. We are still so scared at night that sometimes we only get a few hours of sleep. All the doors and windows have burglar proofing and we even have a security gate in the passage that gets locked, and then we lock our bedroom door and turn the alarm. You still worry that they might come through the roof. I often have nightmares and feel like crying when I wake up, the last armed robbery really took it out of me as my fiancé nearly got raped and I was almost shot in the head with a pillow case over my head, hands, feet and legs tied up. I started a company and had it for 8 years. I am a hard working person that will make any employer proud but don’t have enough points to make it over there. We really love this country, but sadly see no future for white South Africans or their children here. With South African Airways and Woolworths already not employing any white citizens anymore. Apartheid have been turned around and is now legal, it is called black economic empowerment. I am at a point where I am ready to get on the plane with a few items and seek asylum. We fear the day that Mandela dies, as we have heard, that that will be the day when the “Night of the long Knifes” will come for all whites. I am tired, I we can’t carry on living like this anymore. I guess if you are not able to migrate, then you had better prepare yourself for war.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Jacob on 12 Oct 2012

I live in SA, and its scary. I don't care what other people say, if living in Oz is better and safer for my children, also considering facts such as better education opportunities, then others' judgemental opinions mean nothing at all. Farm murders are real and living in SA is getting more and more complicated. Due to past mistakes by others there are very deep seated hatred issues, especially in youth, and political unrest is getting more prominent. If I could qualify for immigration, judgement will definitely take back seat to peace and a better future in general. How great would it be to sleep safe and soundly without fear of being attacked violently and cruelly. Very well written article.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Zane on 19 Aug 2012

I read your stories and gues what it was you people who created it...with your apartheid...voting for a white government watching while innocent black people got shambocked going to work,...I saw it with my own eyes...so shut up and do not try your apartheid trickes in Australia
Rating: 1 / 5
by Lloyd on 26 May 2012

I can just laugh at the South Africans who seem to think that those Saffas that are now living in other countries try to find fault with SA to for whatever reason say 'we told you so'. My husband and I moved to Australia about 5 years ago. Yes, there were many things that made me so mad about SA. Especially the crime, but the reason we left was because we got the opportunity and we wanted to take it. We never said we would never move back, in fact, I always thought I would move back. Many times I have wanted to move back because of the difficulties associated with moving to a foreign country. Leaving all familiar behind and starting over. In a country where people aren't very welcoming to migrants either. That aside. South Africans who has not left the country to live somewhere else would not have any idea how bad things really are in SA. Yes, there are a lot of good going on too. There is a lot that I miss about SA, but the bad outweighs the good by far. I have 3 small children who will grow up without grannies and granpas, without cousins, without Afrikaans etc. and it breaks my heart. Those things are really important to me. The fact is, we have seen more, we know better, because we've experienced better. We can see how much better SA can be, but will never. We see how it is deteriorating, because we go back once in a while for a visit. I still want to go back, but can't, not while there is no sense of law and very few people uphold the law. The rest I could deal with, but breaking the law and not seeing any justice served boils my blood. Things go so much smoother when everybody works together and does the right thing, which the majority of Australians do and that is why it works. It won't work like that in SA because the people get away with murder (literally and figuratively). So, I would love Australia to do something about this law, because I would like my family and friends to experience life like it used to be in the old South Africa (without Apartheid). I am against Apartheid but know that my country was better off in those days. I don't agree with how they made it work, but I do believe that if we really stand for fareness and equality then it should be real and it should start with the law.
Rating: 5 / 5
by cnnbotha on 19 Dec 2011

This is outrageous. The convention is ethnicity obviously. There are more than 50 killings a day, South Africa has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world. The same goes for rape—ranking the country alongside conflict zones such as Sierra Leone, Colombia and Afghanistan. I am a south african and i shit myself when people say that i am spreading negative news. These are facts my friends. 800,000 out of a total white population of 4 million have left since 1995, by one count. Top reason is crime. We are on a level 6 out of 8 on genocide watch. White unemployment has risen by more than 100%. And australia can STILL not find this good enough. Interestingly, more than 90% of all those 'whites' who have left, are actually Afrikaans-speakers, close-knit, often deeply religious members of a very distinct ethnic minority who view themselves as an independent nation, with their own language, culture and a very unique history. This exodus of 'whites' thus also marks the dissipation, the destruction of an entire ethnic minority in South Africa, which has lived there since the 17th century. The young generation of Afrikaners is being forced out of the country of their birth, and not only face the heartbreak of leaving their beloved continent behind them forever, but also having to leave their aging parents behind. White south africans should be granted asylum. I am busy writing a report to the government of Australia and so should all of you.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Cara-Lee Wiese on 05 Oct 2011

For Anelia and bester.I just want to ask you guys a question?What do you gain in spreading negative news.If you have not yet got a clear justification for you to live in White australia and forget about Africa by now.I think you need to consult a Doctor for PTS.Everywhere in the world has its own problems,even in the USA sometimes they kill immigrants,but the American govt do not support that.also,in South africa,it happens but Most south africans do not support that.Did you forget that it was the whites apertheid govt who use to pay and equip blacks(IFP) against blacks(ANC)which is still happening now,even the xenophobic attacks was as a result,Even,the white paint themselves black and switch off the electricity and attack blacks in the dark,until people found out.This is what you guys are still doing now in other forms to discredit SA and its acheivement so far.I do have some concerns on the SA govt but it is normal everywhere in the world.I think you can only deceive your likes,who are really enemies of south africa.If you do not have any good thing to contribute to SA,why not seat down in Perth and enjoy your selves in the white land(Paradise).Let those white and blacks who wants to stay in SA stay in peace and change the country for good.
Rating: 4 / 5
by mark anthony on 20 Nov 2009

No Mark Anthony, I think you completely misunderstood what I wrote in my previous post. I am the very last person to spread negativity about SA (or Australia) and I am very content with my life in Oz. I simply wanted to say that misinformation is being spread about the Night of the Long Knives - something I have been finding very frustrating for a long time now.(It was just something I investigated while working as a Journalist in South Africa at the time.)
Rating: 5 / 5
by Anelia on 20 Nov 2009

For Charlie Bester: Since everyone here has gone completely off the subject (as it goes in any good conversation), I am also going with the flow. I read your Night of the Long Knives comment, Charlie. There have been many comments made on this issue for a number of years, so when I returned to South Africa for 2 years ('05 - '07) I decided to speak to a few black people about it. This is what they told me: They are going to kill the illegal immigrants who flock to SA to take their jobs, steal their women and rape their children. They have no interest whatsoever in killing white people by the masses; why would they if whites are in the minority and blacks are already in power. No threat there to them. They said they have pressured the SA government many times to take action against illegal immigrants, but they ignore their plea, so the only alternative left is to kill them. But, they know that Mandela will stop them, and because they respect them, they will wait until Mandela is dead. Later, after I have returned to Australia, SA made international headlines when thousands of SA blacks took to the streets to kill illegal immigrants. Why they decided to attack while Mandela is still alive, I won't know. That's open for debate. But, I do know that the Night of the Long Knives are certainly not aimed against whites. Too many blacks told me the same story on different occasions.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Anelia on 19 Nov 2009

well i also have as a few of the writers above! my current 457 visa expires on 2 december and im not wanting to return to south africa. just google"when mandella dies" or "night of the long knives" and see what is still to come in south africa. I really am fearful for me and my families lives.
Rating: 5 / 5
by charlie bester on 18 Nov 2009

Just for the record, I (Teresa) come from a large multicultural family with Chinese, Black and White nieces and nephews. I was not born in South Africa and was not raised there and neither condone nor defend apartheid. I never had a maid working for me in South Africa. My Black friends would laugh at the comments made about me. One of the best friends I ever had, Charles Mutshekwane, happened to be Black. He was gunned down by Indians after reporting inhouse theft at the company where he worked. I cried for 3 days afterwards at the loss of such a good friend and the loss that South Africa suffered with his death. He was a far better human being than some of the greedy, money grabbing White South African bosses that I have worked for in Australia. That does not mean that all South Africans are greedy and money grabbing. My sister was murdered by some Black criminals - yes, they were criminals that just happened to be Black. I do not hate Blacks as a result of that; the criminals could just as well have been White. Yes, Carl there are some poor White people living in South Africa. There are at least 74 White squatter camps around Pretoria alone, not to mention those in and around the other cities of South Africa. I would imagine that many of these people would come closest to the definition of "refugees" because many of them find themselves in this predicament because they have been persecuted because of their race and/or language. Many of these children are orphans whose parents were murdered. These children are receiving no education. They would not qualify for refugee status because they are not currently being harmed, although they are being denied. It is a fact that under the previous regime, all children received schooling although it was at separate facilities. It is a reality that Black children under the age of 17 get an allowance. It is a reality that the United Nations, the Red Cross, World Vision, Oprah, various countries, etc. lend a helping hand to disadvantaged Blacks but nobody is lending a helping hand to these disadvantaged Whites in squatter camps in South Africa. I respect the rights of each and every individual to live where they please and I respect the right of every individual to have their place under the sun on this earth. I do not knock South Africa; it has always had, and still has, a lot to be proud of. I have many good friends and family members living in South Africa and I am still proud of South Africa. I watch the rugby and always cheer the Springboks on and just tonight I received some beautiful pictures of the new stadium in Cape Town. South Africa can truly be proud of the stadium and I wish South Africa every success in hosting the soccer. Every South African can be proud of their country and its achievements – past, present and future. Every country throughout the world has its problems, including Australia. Every nationality has it mix of good and bad people.
Rating: 4 / 5
by Teresa da Silva on 18 Nov 2009

I live in Ottawa canada where Brandon the white refugee stays temprorarily while waiting for the canadian govt final decision.I have also stayed in Tokyo,London,Geneva,etc.Now,Me and my family have decided to move back to SA.For now,I am not planning to come to Aust. or anywhere elso to live but just to visit.I have come to know that every one has his or her own story why they do what the do.But what really disgust me is that every bad news in Africa is exagerated.but same bad news happens everywhere in the world.Though the stats may say differently in every country.but that does not change the issue that a crime in canada is equal to a crime in SA.If you can not contribute or see any positive thing to do in SA,you are free to go to Australia. or even move to the moon as it is evident that there is water for survival.I hate crime,but here in Ottawa there are many issues also about crime,racism,poverty etc.Guys, we live in a fallen world,the earlier you get it,the better.Here in canada is low crime country but everyday people are killed in crime related events,some are mugged and killed my bears,or cayotes or even beheaded by a psycho while sleeping on the Bus.No matter what,I am going back to SA,nothing is permanent,oneday and very soon crime will be low in SA and it can go up in Australia.You may never know.Just apreciate your live and live where you like.Stop badmouthing SA b/cos it is home to many people.Goodluck and God bless SA and Australia and Canada.
Rating: 5 / 5
by mark anthony on 16 Nov 2009

This is an issue close to my heart. There are many people whom I believe could easily qualify for refugee status in Australia because of experiences and the severe trauma they have had to endure but don't because they are well-off and not black (reality check). For very particular reasons, and with very heavy hearts, my husband and I and our three children , aged 16, 14 and 7, departed from South Africa to live in Australia. And no - to all those critical big mouths out there who automatically assume that because we are white and left we are racists and hate SA. We left because we knew that we wanted to raise our children with opportunities they were never going to get back in SA. We have sacrificed everything and spent all our money just on getting here on a temporary visa and are working hard to earn our right to get permanent residency. Despite severe trauma (yes we, and all of our family, are all victims of the appalling crime against ALL South Africans), this was not the reason we left, nor was it because we had to pay our servants a living wage, nor was it because we hate being a minority. It takes courage and faith to choose something better for your children and pursue that because you know its the right thing. The pain and trauma of being seperated from family and friends and the life you know never goes away. But, the hugely positive factor is that our children have never been happier, healthier, more confident and less stressed in all their lives. The reality is that they were SEVERELY traumatised by events and incidents which many South Africans endure and take in their stride (because they have no choice)and which the rest of the world considers to be abnormal beyond belief and horrific in the extreme.We have been persecuted, tortured, traumatised, victimised and harrassed, but do not stand on the hilltop screaming about poor us and how bad South Africa is. We quietly do what we feel we have to do, at great personal expense and not asking anything from anyone, least of all the Australian government, except for the opportunity to raise our children in peace. This last year has NOT been an easy one and the people who think we have simply walked into a cushy life have no idea what they are talking about. We have met people who have been granted refugee status here in australia who bring no skills, no money and no desire to contribute anything to their new adopted home, but still claim free healthcare, education and the best state support simply because they lived in wartorn central africa and escaped. We lived in Joburg, areas of which are as bad, but cannot just claim the same. Our own government does not provide protection and certainly does nothing to improve the lives of the very people they are supposed to lead and protect. So, persecution and undue harassment for reasons of race, politics and cultural association are very real factors in a lot of South African's lives, whether black or white. Australia offers the promise of a peaceful life, with excellent opportunities and so it was a no-brainer for us. But we have come in knowing that its our choice and we are grateful for and appreciative of the opportunity. I do believe that the Australian immigration laws will need to address these issues closer though, as conditions in South Africa continue to deteriorate. Please let us know if there are any chnages in this regard in the near future.
Rating: 4 / 5
by Terri Harverson on 16 Nov 2009

This is not a forum for bashing South Africa. I see Teresa there even defends apartheid! Good grief. I am in Oz for 2 years. Its nice, apart from bumping into the odd ex-saffa hell bent on telling me that my country will 'be another Zim' in a few years. Honestly(I am a white DA voter, by the way), I must say that SA seriously is better off without those attitudes. And they are racist attitudes. I know, I used to be one of them. If Susan wants to go back home, good on her. We need all the positive people There are indeed a million good things going on in SA right now. Its a pity they dont make the news. Its a pity that people sit here in oz and run the country down. Luckily, people have an inbuilt bullsh*t metre, and get suspicious of others spewing hate and negativity. That must be why SA tourism is still booming even in the hard times.
Rating: 3 / 5
by James on 15 Nov 2009

The people screeching about crime are the ones least affected. Crime overwhelmingly happens to poor black people in SA. And by overwhelmingly, I mean 97% of violent crime, or higher. So us whiteys sit at home with our two cars (a Jeep and a Golf in my case), we drink and braai and swim in our pools, watch DSTV. And we talk about the 'Swaart Gevaar', and how the darkies are out to get us. And Johan with the Merc will whinge the most. And we are aided and abetted by those that 'fled' the country when they had to start paying their maids a living wage - people like the ones on this forum, or whatever it is, sitting overseas and eagerly seeking out bad news so they can say 'told you so'. You are disgusting. As for Teresa - 'all the poor white people'! What a laugh. I could go on, but I know it wont,and cant, change your thinking. Luckily, the new generation of SA kids doesn't see things this way (even when I get drunk and tell them about 'the old days). So here is to our colour blind future in South Africa.
Rating: 4 / 5
by Carl on 15 Nov 2009

You know Susan...I am not a negative person that is exactly the reason why I am still in "MY COUNTRY"...about "let's not run with all the headline, bad news press"..Its sounds like you are lobbying for the government..Fact is I can run nowhere and your vast frame of reference is not informing you well, and as soon as any of these things happen to them, they might sing another song..on the other hand I like your positive attitude , as a behavioural scientist with a PhD in the subject it is my forte to study behaviour patterns and right now thing don’t look good...even when public figures are openly engaging in hate-speech and many..many of them are abusing position and especially funds of the people, the exact reason why there is a huge social imbalance..these funds are not going into “white” pockets. The heads of these department are all “black” disadvantaged people “well” qualified to do the job the so fairly got given on merit. The problem is not only the exceptions or marginalised. I still like your positive attitude ..but don’t forget to sleep with your one eye open all the time and be on your guard as you pray..as I believe you are coming back.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Marius Visagie on 13 Nov 2009

Beryl, Johan and Susan... tell me if this would class as "advantaged" or "applicable for refugee status". My parents, aged 65 and 69, are pensioners. My dad got laid off in 1993 at the age of 53, due to a faulty heart valve, and had to take his pension (he was a bus driver for the municipality). My mom has always been a housewife (having had 6 kids, she never really got to go out and work). Currently, my dad's pension is a beautiful R1,000 after tax. His medical aid (which only lasts until about May each year, due to all his meds) costs R1,060 a month. Their rent is R2,700 a month for a flat in Southdale (near Booysens, JHB South). Please tell me how they're advantaged and biting the hand that feeds them. From what I can see.... MY salary in Australia is the hand that is feeding them every month and paying their rent. You guys need to get your facts straight before putting up claims you know nothing about. There are just as many "white" poor folks as there are "black". For me to be able to bring them to Australia where they will not get shot at, while they're waiting at a red robot, and a highjacked car gets pulled off by the cops and they start shooting at each other... or get a gun put to their heads while they're at the shop buying bread for dinner 4 nights a week... to bring them in here would cost me $100,000 (that's R650,000) for the two year waiting list, or $2,500 each for the 15 year waiting list of people who are trying to get out of that hell hole. You obviously went to good schools and didn't get pulled up in front of the whole school during assembly each week because your parents didn't pay school fees, or have to leave school at age 16 to go work, so you could help put food on the table... or catch the bus through Hillbrow to get to work because you could never afford to buy a little Beetle, let alone an Audi A6., and get your jewellery stolen while you're waiting for that bus, or see a 12 year old girl get thrown to the ground and raped by 3 men while another one held her 10 year old brother down, in broad daylight! Catch a wake up! Smell the coffee (or the crap you're talking) and realise that that country has gone to the dogs and will be like Zim in a few years!
Rating: 3 / 5
by Sandra Broadfoot on 13 Nov 2009

Many of the comments posted here have steered away from the point the article was trying to make. There is no right or wrong view. If you cannot respect other people's points of view, you will have issues irrespective of where you live. I believe people should have to right to choose where they would like to live and not be persecuted for it. Whether you live in South Africa or Australia, respect the choices of others. After all, we are all hoping for a safe and prosperous South Africa.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Charmaine on 13 Nov 2009

Etienne, I commend you for addressing an important issue, and one which many South Africans often discuss. Last year I spent a lot of time with a group of refugees from Burma to write articles about them for a newspaper in South Australia. After my very first interview I realised why South Africans would not qualify as refugees in Australia. Most of the Burmese people I spoke to, and they are 30 years and older, were born in refugee camps in Burma, they have never known freedom, they can't manage money, don't know how to use mobile phones, don't know how to do shopping in a supermarket because they have always lived on food parcels handed out to them in the camps, etc. Search google about the long history of persecution in Burma - it's an amazing story which will give you insight into what it really means to be a refugee. Then, in 2006 I visited South Africa and started a conversation with a black woman from Ruanda who was working as a sales assistant in a shop. We later met for coffee and after listening to her, I also realised thet South Africans are nothing near living like refugees. She witnessed her husband, parents and brothers' murders and fled the country by foot with her daughter. It took her three months to walk to South Africa where she is living on a temporary visa which she has to renew every three months. Now that's what I call a true refugee. Of course crime in South Africa is horrific, but crime alone is not enough to qualify anyone in the world for refugee status. Speak to people from third world countries like Papua New Guinnea and you will be amazed to hear how they are also affected by brutal crime. It's not unique to South Africa.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Anelia on 13 Nov 2009

In response to Susan's "given the still massive imbalance in wealth, standard of living, personal safety, top jobs etc between the population groups", has anyone seen the massive, growing squatter camps of white people living in abject poverty in most of the major towns? It is not just the black masses. I have heard that the white families cannot get jobs and there are children in these camps who have never been to school and are growing up feral. Even under apartheid, every child had the opportunity of education, albeit in separate facilities. There are elderly people living in drums and with terrible cancer, living in pain because they cannot afford treatment or medication. There are orphaned children in these camps, their parents probably murdered because of their white skin. Some companies have instructed their staff that they may not speak Afrikaans at work or send emails in Afrikaans. Apparently the Afrikaans businesses are holding meetings to see what can be done to improve the lot of these people who live in abject poverty and if they are lucky, get some handouts from church communities. With regards to the other comment on white people committing crime, it is a known fact that if something is not contained it becomes an epidemic. People who would not normally commit crime think "what the devil, everyone else is getting away with it so why shouldn't I commit crime too?" It becomes like a cancer that spreads so it is important to contain something before it becomes an epidemic. At the end of the day, "home is where the heart is". Some people will never be happy wherever they are, and others will be happy regardless of where they are.
Rating: 4 / 5
by Teresa on 13 Nov 2009

Affirmative action is nothing new. Many Developed nations (Canada,USA, OZ) continue to give 'previously disadvantaged' groups an 'unfair advantage'. This is to bring a sense of balance, and of fairness. White South Africans bleating about this is particularly embarrassing, given the still massive imbalance in wealth, standard of living, personal safety, top jobs etc between the population groups. Nowdays, when a white person doesn't get a job (for whatever reason) it is instantly blamed on AA. The truth is, there are a small percentage of positions in SA where preferance may be given to a 'person of colour'. Overwhelmingly, if you have the skills you get the job, same as always. My vast network of family and friends in SA confirm this, and in fact I have been offered a job (phone interview) in CT which I am taking - there was no mention of race at all, just 'can you do the job'. I know an OZ/SA couple that just went back to SA because they landed jobs as game rangers! So, lets not run with all the headline, bad news press. Crime is coming down, incomes are going up, the black middle class is growing and paying tax. Massive infrastructure projects are delivering things like safe, first world public transport, fantastic airports, sports facilities and new roads. There is a LOT of GOOD STUFF going on in SA that we simply never get to hear about, unless you dig a little deeper.
Rating: 3 / 5
by Susan on 12 Nov 2009

I fully understand and know where Marius is coming from, I have lived in Africa all my life and I am not a fool, but I still believe that for South Africans to even consider going the refugee route, is not a fair one. South Africans do at this stage, have other methods open to them to get into Australia. We too, as a family, have experienced tragedy, several times; my husband’s brother having been attacked on his farm and my own sister and her daughter were attacked in their home and her little daughter just four years old, died. Our sister-in-law (a widow), who after seven traumatic years of living on temporary monthly visas in Australia, not knowing from one month to another where she was going to live, was finally allowed to stay here (her son lives here and is married to an Australian). She had her farm taken away from her in Zimbabwe by War Veterans, and being a widow, was left destitute. Refugee status was suggested by her Migration Lawyer who had supported her throughout her application, but was refused by the Australian Government. Beryl
Rating: 5 / 5
by Beryl Sparks on 11 Nov 2009

It is amazing how people would mask what is happening with a feeling of guilt....we have been privileged in the past, they would say...don’t bite the hand that feeds you...etc. No cause in life is worth one human life, people in the past was jailed for killing or being the cause of killing people because of a struggle that has taken innocent lives. What do you say to a mother who has lost a son (no matter what the colour or race? Some people will forever ride the bus of apartheid and continue to live in the past while the future will not change due to a reluctance to do something now. The statistics mentioned here is incorrect and many farmers have been killed and still are, but it is not mentioned in the papers and on the news. This is the truth and if someone want to protect their families because their own country is unsafe....WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT....be lead by fact and not emotion...I SAY AGAIN...NO CAUSE IN LIFE IS WORTH THE LIFE OF ANY HUMAN BEING. If there is a system (if it means getting refugee status) people have the right to make use of it even if it is to save one life. As much as this world has evolved in its quest to curb the barbaric action of killing humans for some or other cause, people that has been used to living a descent life, has the right to continue to contribute as well as living in peace. Apartheid is alive and well in this country as well as others in the world, in this country it just changed direction....only a fool would not be mindful of its existence in South Africa. If the masses are poor and live in shacks it is not a racist problem...it is a political one...how many years does a government need to supply housing and jobs.....and if they are; but say it will take time....why then all the crime and killing...you will be killed for your cell phone or even ten rand in your pocket...there is no regard for life at all...talk to people ...read the papers...talk to your local policemen and get hold of the real picture...it is happening all the time. If I have the qualifications for a job why is someone else appointed because of political decision and not because of merit (being unqualified for the post)...that is why structures and systems are falling apart..It is not about colour, race or gender..or is it. Look at the corruption in government departments because of this issue. The audit-general has audited all government department and municipal spending and they were all full of corrupt discussions, stated on national TV...I HAVE MUCH TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE SOCIETY AT LARGE, but don’t see why my life has to be endangered at all!!!!
Rating: 5 / 5
by Marius Visagie on 09 Nov 2009

In reply to questions posed in the comments above, please note that for a protection visa application to be successful in Australia, a strong case would need to be established – DIAC does not tolerate ‘shonky refugee claims’. It will depend on the applicants' individual circumstances in South Africa and whether they had been specifically targeted for a Convention based reason. A successful applicant will most likely have to formulate persecution on the basis of membership to a particular social group, as explained in my article. The best way forward to assess eligibility would be to book a consultation for an individual assessment and to obtain proper legal advice: etienne.hugo@teleo-group.com
Rating: 5 / 5
by Etienne Hugo on 04 Nov 2009

You guys must be joking. Huntley has made a laughing stock of the Canadians, and now they know it. White South Africans bleating about discrimination is an outright JOKE! I know, I am one of them! The 'terrible crime' all us whiteys go on about happens almost exclusively to black people - township dwellers, the poor (I mean really poor, guys - not 'I cant afford the Audi A6' version of poor.) Despite the horror stories, unless you live in a township or other marginalised area, you are pretty safe in SA. Look up the ACTUAL stats on how many white people are murdered in SA each year - it is really a surprise. As in, the number is low. And then - check how many of the offenders were actually non-white! Surprising, isnt it...turns out that white people commit as much, if not more, crime against each other - as 'the others' do. So please, enough of the racist hype already.
Rating: 4 / 5
by Johan on 03 Nov 2009

I was appalled to read the comment regarding whether or not South Africans should be considered for “Refugee” status, in their quest to live in Australia, or elsewhere! Is this serious? My layman interpretation of a “Refugee” is someone whose life is under constant threat by the regime of that country where he resides, who has no prospects of ever being able to make a decent living for himself and his family, who doesn’t own anything because of his financial circumstances, and perhaps isn’t allowed to, such as a home, someone who would be, and has been, living in abject poverty with no hope of ever being able to get out of it. In desperation, they pay some conman a vast amount of money, puts himself and invariably his family at risk, on an unsafe mode of transport (generally a boat) and hopes to make a new life in another country, usually Australia. How can we even debate this kind of situation for South Africans. Yes, I do agree, crime in South Africa is totally untenable and frightening. The future in South Africa is precarious. Allow me to make the following points: • Most South Africans have had a privileged life in South Africa, having been able to secure good jobs, buy homes, motor cars, educate their children at good schools • Most South Africans trying to come and live in Australia are highly skilled and educated and obviously were afforded the opportunities to educate themselves • Many South Africans who come to Australia are sponsored by Australian companies and offered good salaries and conditions to get them here, in most cases • Many South Africans have had choices in their lives, such as being able to decide that they can no longer bear the situation in South Africa because of the crime, Affirmative Action, a Black Government perhaps and of course an insecure future for their children. They are able to move to another country, sell up their homes and cars, commute their Retirement Fund/Pensions to that country and set themselves up quite comfortably. I am well aware that this is not the case for a lot of South Africans who come here • This last year has been a particularly bad one for South Africans attempting to come to Australia, as well as those who came over during 2008/09. My husband and I have been here for a year, with the hope that our children and young grandchildren could join us, but that is not to be as there is absolutely no way now that our children would even be considered for Australia and unfortunately my husband’s position no longer exists and we will be returning to South Africa at the end of November. We have been extremely fortunate in that the company my husband works for has been outstanding regarding our repatriation back to South Africa. I personally am thrilled, as I have missed my children and grandchildren terribly, but I don’t wear blinkers and know that my grandchildren would have a much better future in Australia. But that is not to be at this stage. And no, we won’t be trying the “Refugee” trick! I heard a program on ABC radio yesterday (1/11/09) where they were discussing Migration to Australia. The Australian Government are clamping down more and more and according to the Migration Lawyer being interviewed, he advised people to look at the Government website on Immigration on a regular basis, as it changes weekly. Even he said he cannot keep up with the changes at the moment. I wish everyone all the best in their new lives here in Australia, but please don’t run your own country down in the meantime, remember that it was good to you and you have reaped the benefits in the past! Don’t ever bite the hand that once fed you, you never know when you might need it again! Beryl Sparks
Rating: 4 / 5
by Beryl Sparks on 02 Nov 2009

My daughter and her husband - aprofessional man - are living in Perth Australia...their comment on the Country is of the hightest regard. We would like to join them there as we experience the same circumstance as was explained in the artickle. Discrimination in the workplace, crime and the like...has almost become common practice and it is very subtaly exsecuted.I am currently out of job and my wife (a white female) dont really have any future in her workplace as well. I have given up to apply for work. My wife is often the target of road rage by black people and as a women laughed at and told "we will still kill all the whities". There are many such instances, even with my son on his schooter being "shambocked" from behind out of a driving taxy. Hope the world will apreciate what is really going on in this beautifull country.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Marius Visagie on 02 Nov 2009

My daughter and her husband - aprofessional man - are living in Perth Australia...their comment on the Country is of the hightest regard. We would like to join them there as we experience the same circumstance as was explained in the artickle. Discrimination in the workplace, crime and the like...has almost become common practice and it is very subtaly exsecuted.I am currently out of job and my wife (a white female) dont really have any future in her workplace as well. I have given up to apply for work. My wife is often the target of road rage by black people and as a women laughed at and told "we will still kill all the whities". There are many such instances, even with my son on his schooter being "shambocked" from behind out of a driving taxy. Hope the world will apreciate what is really going on in this beautifull country.
Rating: 5 / 5
by Marius Visagie on 02 Nov 2009

I find this article very interesting,as I still have a daughter with siblings in SA and she is over 21 we do have a PR visa for OZ but she basicly have to qualified on her own credit that is if i do understand the rules, she and her common law husband and babies do not have enough credit, so I would like to find more about the refugee status. according roomers from ex South Africans are so scary they firmly believes that the whites are no longer safe when Mandela dies,being from SA and experienced the crime myself I will like to see that the OZ laws will accomadate SA who wants to imigrate because off the high crime level please keep us posted
Rating: 5 / 5
by Barryldene on 01 Nov 2009

As Barryldene, I have a 27year old daugther, pregnant and no work in South Africa, always been a waitress with a very unpredictable income. She is currently in Aus with us on a visitor's visa. We are paying for all her medical expenses, entertainment etc at the moment. She does not have any "male protection" in South Africa and no accommodation. How will this type of visa help her? We are prepared to help as long as it takes. There will be no support system whatsoever for her if and when she goes back, will that be taken into account? The chances of her finding a proper job, within office hours are zero. What to do with the baby when she has to work at night? I'm really scared for her to go back, how will I be able to live with myself if she goes back and something happens to her and/or the baby because of her late hours, if she finds a waitress job again, what are the chances of finding a job again? Can Etienne perhaps shed light on this?. Just before she flew out to Australia in Sept, her handbag was stolen from her, luckily her passport and visa was not in the bag!
Rating: 5 / 5
by Carelene on 01 Nov 2009

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