Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is considering "several" applications from South African farmers for refugee or humanitarian status in Australia.

Dutton says the government has not gone back on his comments last month that persecuted white farmers need help from a "civilised country" like Australia.

The denial comes after South Africa's Foreign Affairs Minister Lindiwe Sisulu welcomed a "retraction" from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.

Read more: South Africa votes to confiscate white-owned land


Dutton said on Tuesday he'd seen a letter from Bishop to Sisulu but it contained no suggestions of repudiation or retraction.

"I'm not sure what domestic issues are at play in terms of the politics in South Africa that would bring this comment out but it's not based on any factual statement of anyone within the Australian government," he told Sky News.

Dutton said the government's position was "as I stated it a couple of weeks ago" — that the refugee and humanitarian program was available to eligible people, with cases considered on an individual basis.

"And in fact we're having a look at several now," he said. Dutton also said at the time that farmers deserved "special attention" because they faced violence and land seizures.

Last month, South Africa's parliament voted in favour of a motion that will begin the process of amending the country's Constitution to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation.

The motion was brought by Julius Malema, leader of the radical Marxist opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters.

"The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice," Malema was quoted by News24 as telling parliament. "We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land."

According to Bloomberg, a 2017 government audit found white people owned 72 per cent of farmland in South Africa.