Living in fear for South African family stuck on the farming frontline

Living in fear for South African family stuck on the farming frontline, by Andrew Burrell.

Perth woman Lisa Thompson Potgieter agonises every day over the safety of her elderly parents — both white farmers — in her native South Africa.

But she says the cost of obtaining special parent visas to enable them to join her in Australia would be $84,000 — money that Mrs Potgieter, a schoolteacher, and her husband Phillip, a mine worker, simply don’t have. Without the visas, her parents, both 75, would have to join a low-priority queue the Department of Immigration says can take 30 years to be processed.

Until last month when they moved into a retirement home, Mrs Potgieter’s parents had lived in fear on their farm near Pretoria. A neighbouring farm was recently burgled and the occupants tied up. Another neighbour, a woman in her 80s, had her finger cut off by a gang that stole her gold wedding ring. …

The Potgieters moved to Perth 11 years ago with their children, now 13 and 14. …

Among the 20 seats with the most Afrikaans speakers, six are Coalition-held seats that would be lost if an election were held now, while a seventh would be line-ball based on demographic breakdowns of Newspolls in the first three months of this year. In Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson, held by a 1.6 per cent margin, Afrikaans is the second-most spoken language, with 726 speakers.

hat-tip Stephen Neil