April 25 2010 at 08:17AM
By Deon de Lange
The Hague, Netherlands - A white South African family has petitioned popular local right-wing politician Geert Wilders to help them gain Dutch citizenship more than 300 years after their ancestors left the land of tulips and windmills.
Speaking on behalf of her two brothers, 37 and 41, and her parents, Lara Johnstone, 43, this week told the Algemene Dagblad that her forebears, the Bosmans, left Amsterdam in 1707 to settle in the Western Cape.
"We want to go back to where we came from: Holland," she is quoted as saying.
Johnstone told the paper that she and her family were afraid of increased violence against white South Africans. She claims that inter-racial violence has "risen sharply" since the murder earlier this month of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche.
In a petition sent to Wilders this week, the family asked if the leader of the Partij Voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom, PVV) can assist "white Afrikaner refugees with Dutch ancestry" to attain Dutch nationality.
The Algemene Dagblad goes on to quote Durbanite Len van Eeden, 40, who claims Dutch ancestry dating back to "around '0", saying he was "very worried" about race relations in South Africa.
"We are stuck here in South Africa. We are getting worried. We do not have extreme right-wing ideas, but are simply 'moderate whites'," he said. He said Terre'Blanche's murder got him thinking about his future.
Wilders' public relations consultant, Gaelle de Graaff, said the party leader was "very, very busy preparing for an election" and would not have time to respond to enquiries about the issue.
Wilders is expected to do well in national elections in June. He is particularly popular among voters who want an end to the "Islamification" of the Netherlands.
Wilders, who likens the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf and wants the book similarly banned, has slammed Islam as "the Trojan Horse of Europe".
After receiving numerous death threats, Wilders now enjoys a greater level of security than any other politician in a country where members of parliament still cycle to work alongside other citizens.
The latest refugee appeal by white South Africans comes just months after a Canadian refugee board caused a diplomatic storm by granting South African Brandon Huntley refugee status in Canada. The board declared there was an "inability or unwillingness by the government and security forces to protect white South Africans from persecution by black South Africans".
This followed Huntley's complaint of multiple muggings and that he had been called a "white dog" by black citizens.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Sunday Argus on April 25, 2010