Govt reacts to Jefferson's residency application

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pretoria - Government has rejected the reasons given by a South African, when claiming residence in Ireland, who cited fears of "criminal racial discrimination."

According to media reports Dianne Jefferson, 22, who moved to Ireland when she was 14 to live with her father, was turned down for a resident's visa even though she was married to an Irishman.

She appealed to the Dublin High Court for permission to stay in the country, stating in her affidavit: "I say and believe that as a white South African there is a real possibility of criminal racial discrimination against me and I fear for my well-being and ultimately my life if I am returned."

The judge granted her an injunction stopping immigration authorities from deporting her, and she has now been given a five-year residency visa.

Reacting to this the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on Friday dismissed this, saying it's untrue.

"This is untrue and inaccurate to suggest that crime is racially motivated and that a particular section of the South African society is more likely to be exposed to crime than any other.

"The South African government has reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to provide safety and security to all South Africans, black and white, and not only to a select section of its population," the department said.

According to the department, the applicant's unsubstantiated claims and suggestions were nothing but an attempt to tarnish the integrity of all South Africans, black and white, and to damage the country's reputation.

"While South Africa faces many developmental challenges, insinuations that crime is racially based are inaccurate," said the department, adding that the government is firmly committed to ensuring that all its citizens live and enjoy a safe and secure environment.

In August, Brandon Huntley, 31, a South African living in Canada, was granted refugee status after claiming he had been attacked because of his race.

In his application, Huntley, who grew up in Mowbray in Cape Town, claimed that he was persecuted as a white man in South Africa.