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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

ANC: Canada refugee ruling racist

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The ANC labelled Brandon Huntley's claims "sensational and alarming"

The governing party in South Africa, the ANC, has condemned as "racist" a decision by Canada to grant a white South African man refugee status.

Brandon Huntley, 31, had told officials in Canada he could not return to South Africa after seven different attacks.

They included three stabbings, which he said he had suffered as a result of his skin colour.

But a party spokesman said the African National Congress was shocked by the "sensationalist" allegations.

"Canada's reasoning for granting Huntley a refugee-status can only serve to perpetuate racism," Ishmael Mnisi said.


"We find the claim by Huntley to have been attacked seven times by Africans due to his skin colour - without any police intervention - sensational and alarming," he added.

White people aren't given enough emphasis - basically, they've just paid for their sins for just too long
Aluwani Raswini
Johannesburg resident

The ANC said it was committed to fighting crime in South Africa, which has an annual murder rate of around 18,000.

Race is a sensitive issue in the country, still scarred by decades of apartheid, which ended in 1994.

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board ruled last week that Mr Huntley could stay in Canada.

Canada's Ottawa Sun newspaper quoted the panel's chairman, William Davis, as saying he would stand out like a "sore thumb" due to his colour in any part of South Africa.

On the streets of Johannesburg, opinions were mixed about the case.

"Actually I think this guy is sick, because if you check, we're living in South Africa but none of those issues are happening to us," Aluwani Matshavana told Reuters news agency.

But another black South African, Aluwani Raswini, had sympathy for Mr Huntley's grievance.

"I agree with him on that part, because South Africa is mostly focusing on black people too much these days. White people aren't given enough emphasis. Basically, they've just paid for their sins for just too long," he said.

Whites still dominate Africa's biggest economy. But some say they face discrimination, and are deprived of jobs by a black affirmative action programme.


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