Misinformation Over South African Land Reform

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On Thursday, August 23, 2018, Trump tweeted that he had informed his Secretary of State to study the land and farm seizures going on in South Africa.

He appeared to be reacting to a segment on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News that evening, during which Carlson highlighted a State Department statement on South Africa's proposed land reforms that seemed to defend the South African government's approach and downplay criticisms.

South Africa's foreign ministry will seek clarification of Mr Trump's comments from the USA embassy in Pretoria, President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokeswoman said, adding that Mr Trump was "misinformed".

Nauert said that expropriation of land without compensation "would risk sending South Africa down the wrong path".

White community in South Africa constitute eight percent of the population possessing 72 percent of farms, while only four percent of the lands are owned by black people making up 80 percent of the population.

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Trump was apparently responding to a Fox News report on Wednesday. "South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers".

"Not surprisingly, South Africa reacted angrily to Mr. Trump's tweet, saying it reflected a 'narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.' Sadly, it probably reflects even less than that - a clueless grasp at a racially tinged political diversion".

The latest development came as South Africa's Parliament is accelerating a process to amend the Constitution to cater for land expropriation without compensation. "It was the first time he has mentioned Africa by name in a tweet as president". The protests originated in 2011 at the hands of Monica Stone, a long-time member of the Louisiana-based white supremacist Christian Defense League and immigrant from South Africa.

South African Deputy President, David Mabuza has told a land summit that the expropriation of land will be done within the confines of the constitution.

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

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The stark inequality stems from purchases and seizures during the colonial era that were then enshrined in law during apartheid.

"The government of South Africa wishes to caution against alarmist, false, inaccurate and misinformed, as well as - in some cases - politically motivated statements that do not reflect the policies and intentions of the South African government", it said.

Ramaphosa has said that expropriation is necessary to return land that was seized from blacks during apartheid, the country's previous system of racial discrimination.

As with most of Trump's tweets, it is far from the truth and neglects the decades of apartheid and racism in South Africa.

In this regard, President Cyril Ramaphosa has directly addressed investors and agricultural associations and will continue this process of engagement and consultation with all stakeholders to find solutions that are in the best interest of the country, the economy and the people of South Africa.

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But Kallie Kriel, chief executive of AfriForum - a group that advocates for its largely white membership - welcomed Trump's intervention and attacked Ramaphosa for pressing ahead with the policy.

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