Ramaphosa: SA won't make same mistakes other countries have on land reform

Posted August 26, 2018

United States president Donald Trump unleashed a tweetstorm on Thursday morning when he falsely claimed that farm seizures and the "large-scale killing of farmers" is taking place in South Africa.

Trump had written overnight: "I have asked Secretary of State ..."

Later Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the administration's position was that land expropriation without compensation "would risk sending South Africa down the wrong path".

Today, almost a quarter-century after the first democratic elections, black South Africans, who comprise 80 percent of the population, still own just 4 percent of the country's land, according to the government.

"Discourse between U.S. President Donald Trump and the Federal Reserve has provided some of the short term volatility to the dollar".

"We would like to discourage those who are using this sensitive and emotive issue of land to divide us as South Africans by distorting our land reform measures to the worldwide community, and spreading falsehoods that our "white farmers" are facing the onslaught from their own government".

The tweet also caused a selloff of the nation's currency, the rand, which sank nearly 2 percent against the dollar before paring losses.

President Donald Trump is wading into a debate over the highly disproportionate ownership of land by whites in South Africa.

South Africans were invited to participate on the proposed amendment of Section 25 of the country's constitution dealing with property rights.

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Australia's anti-immigration home affairs minister, Peter Dutton-who may soon become prime minister-said earlier this year that Australia should fast-track visas for white South Africans, to help them escape "persecution" by the black majority.

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

The official South African government Twitter account responded: "South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past". "We will take up the matter through diplomatic channels".

"Through land expropriation, we are forcing white people to share the land which was gained through a crime against the humanity of black and African people", Malema said in a press conference, referring to the racist land policies of colonialism and apartheid.

On the farm killings, he added: "It's absolute rubbish to say there's white genocide".

A further 15 people, including 8 white farmers, were killed on farms in the first three months of 2018. "They're killing black people in the US".

The president's tweet did find support among some South Africans, while some farmers spoke out about their security concerns. Though the government is likely to change its constitution, it has not done so yet. Whites had secured approximately 90 percent of all land in South Africa by the time Apartheid was ended in 1994, despite making up only about 10 percent of the population. The South African parliament passed a motion to take back the land.

Tupy, a Wits University graduate, said the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) under which South Africa traded with the United States required the United States president to kick out from that treaty any country that did not respect property rights. Organisations like AfriForum going overseas and saying that the ANC is out for a land grab".

Ramaphosa has said his land reform programme will be carefully carried out, to avoid what happened in Zimbabwe when former President Robert Mugabe's farm seizures sent the economy into a tailspin.

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