Once he returns to South Africa, Brandon Huntley, the man who has just lost his refugee status in Canada, will “forever suffer the indignity of his false claims”.
This is the view of Home Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa, who said Huntley should never have been granted refugee status.
Huntley now faces deportation and a return to South Africa.
“We welcome the decision of the Canadian federal court,” said Mamoepa. “From the outset, our view has always been that his claims are based on falsehood that tarnishes our image and the people of South Africa in the eyes of the world.”
He said the ruling vindicated South Africa and any negative perceptions Huntley’s claims may have caused. “We are looking forward to his deportation to South Africa, where he will forever suffer the indignity of his false claims,” he said.
John Kane-Berman, chief executive of the South African Institute of Race Relations, said Huntley did not have any grounds on which to argue that he, or any one race group, was at a greater risk of being a victim of crime than any other in South Africa. “South Africa has a very high level of crime, particularly violent crime,” he said. “If South Africans were entitled to refugee status based on the level of crime in the country, we should all be given refugee status.”
Huntley’s lawyer Russell Kaplan could not be reached yesterday but he reportedly told media his client’s case had brought attention to the plight of white South Africans.
Last year Huntley, 32, claimed in his application to the Canadian immigration board that he was a victim of racial persecution. He said he had been attacked seven times and stabbed four times between 1991 and 2003, and that the South African government did not protect white people from crime. He had also been called a “white dog” and a “settler”.
Huntley, who grew up in Mowbray, first travelled to Canada in 2004 on a six-month work permit to work as a carnival attendant.
He married a Canadian woman, Melanie Crete-Huntley - from whom he is now estranged - who has previously said she believed he “suckered” her into marrying him.
However, when news broke of his being granted refugee status, it caused a stir in both Canada and South Africa, attracting criticism from the South African government, academics and the public here.
Canada’s federal government challenged the immigration board’s decision by calling for a review.
The review was granted, and Huntley’s refugee status was overturned by the Canadian federal court last week.
Canadian Judge James Russell released a ruling on the case on Wednesday, saying the decision was “badly flawed”.