South Africa says Australia is tarnishing its reputation

By @chelean on
A fan waves the Italian national flag before his team take on Brazil in their Confederations Cup soccer match at the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria June 21, 2009.
A fan waves the Italian national flag before his team take on Brazil in their Confederations Cup soccer match at the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria June 21, 2009. Reuters/Dylan Martinez

Australia is tarnishing South Africa’s reputation, according to the latter’s government. Weeks after Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton commented about alleged persecuted white farmers in South Africa, the country has lashed out at Australia’s travel advisory, which warns travellers to “exercise a high degree of caution” when travelling to the other nation.

The advisory from the Department of Foreign Affair and Trade’s Smartraveller, which was last updated in January, cautions Australians from travelling to South Africa because of its “high level of serious crime.” It says that threat of terrorism is present the country, robberies are frequent, disputes between public transport rival drivers may become violent, and the rate of HIV/AIDS infection is very high.

According to South Africa, it has requested Australia several times in the past to amend the advisory according to the “true experiences of foreign tourists,” but Australia has refused. Lindiwe Sisulu, the minister of International Relations and Cooperation, will now raise the country’s concerns with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.

“The South African government takes strong exception to the Travel Advisory issued by the government of the Commonwealth of Australia, which contains misleading information about South Africa in general and, in particular, about the experiences of foreign tourists visiting South Africa,” the statement reads. “Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will raise the concerns of the South African Government relating to the advisory with her Australian counterpart, Minister Julie Bishop.”

The statement adds that the travel advisory tarnishes the country’s image and deters Australians to visit the country.

“South Africa remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and tourists in most instances have pleasant experiences of our country,” Sisulu said.

The news comes after Dutton risked diplomatic tensions by claiming white farmers in South Africa were being “persecuted” and that Australia should expedite visas for them because they were the “sorts of migrants that we want to bring into our country.” South Africa has demanded retraction from him, saying the claim was without merit.

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