Jean-Jacques Cornish

Far right media campaign has given rise to storm in SA- Australia relations

by Jean-Jacques Cornish
The diplomatic storm roiling relations between South Africa and Australia appears to have risen from a far right international media campaign followed by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and others in the government of Malcolm Turnbull.
Miranda Devine writing in News Corporation  publications  says  white South African farmers are in danger of losing their land and are in grave peril from rural crime.
She adds there’s kinship between Australians and “our oppressed white, Christian, industrious, rugby and cricket-playing Commonwealth cousins”, adding  that they would “integrate seamlessly”.
Dutton responded to this saying: “I think these people deserve special attention and we’re certainly applying that special attention now”. He described them as people who would easily “integrate into our society”.
Another News Corp column speaks about reverse racism and an anti white vergeance theme swirling around the Western world.
Several commentators from US-based alternative right-wing websites  are calling the South African issue the flavor of the month.
Among their calls is for refugee status to be given to white South Africans.
Before Dutton remarks Australia’s,  the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia’s High Commission in Pretoria has regular discussions with the South African government and urged it to ensure the security of its citizens.
She said changes to land ownership should not be disruptive to the economy nor lead to violence.
Bishop said Australia closely monitors the murder rate and was “very concerned that there were 19 000 murders reported in South Africa  in 2017”.
Asked if the farmers should get special visas, Bishop said Australia had an existing offshore humanitarian visa program for which people claiming to be displaced by persecution, including in South Africa, could apply.
“All claims for humanitarian visa entry into Australia are assessed on their merits, so I’m working with the Home Affairs Minister to ascertain if any changes are needed to our existing offshore humanitarian visa program.”

Enquire about availability for radio, podcasts, reporting or opinion pieces.

Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.