South Africa condemns Trump for 'seeking to divide our nation' with white farmers tweet

US President says he told Mike Pompeo to closely study land seizures from white farmers

Thursday 23 August 2018 17:07 BST
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President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump (Reuters)

South Africa has condemned Donald Trump for “seeking to divide our nation” after he tweeted about white farmers in the country having their land seized.

Mr Trump took to the social media site to say he had asked Mike Pompeo to study supposed South African farm seizures from white farmers, saying: "I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. 'South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.' @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews”.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spokeswoman said the tweet was "misinformed” and the official government Twitter account said: "South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past," it said.

Mr Ramaphosa had announced that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) planned to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation.

No land had been "seized" since the reform plans were announced.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, the ANC has followed a "willing seller, willing buyer" model under which the government buys white owned farms for redistribution to members of the black community who are willing to purchase it.

Progress has been slow and most South Africans believe something has to be done to accelerate change, providing it does not hurt the economy or stoke unrest.

"Reforming the land distribution and ownership will be good for South Africa," said political analyst Nic Borain.

Mr Trump's tweet came days after it was announced that his wife, Melania, would travel to Africa in October for her first major solo international trip as first lady.

In January, South Africa protested to the US Embassy in Pretoria about reported remarks by Trump that some immigrants from Africa and Haiti came from "shithole" countries.

Agencies contributed to this report

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