South Africa – South Africa accused US President Donald Trump of fuelling racial tensions on Thursday after he said farmers were being forced off their land and many of them killed.  Trump’s tweet touches on the overwhelmingly white ownership of farmland in South Africa — one of the most sensitive issues in the country’s post-apartheid history.  Responding within hours, the government angrily said: “South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.”

“South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation,” it said on its official Twitter account.”  Trump wrote overnight: “I have asked Secretary of State (Mike)… Pompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers.”

His tweet apparently followed a segment on conservative Fox News about Pretoria’s plan to change the constitution to speed up expropriation of land without compensation to redress racial imbalances in land ownership.

In Summary

  • Trump’s tweet touches on the overwhelmingly white ownership of farmland in South Africa — one of the most sensitive issues in the country’s post-apartheid history.
  • The imbalance stems from purchases and seizures during the colonial era that were then enshrined in law during apartheid.
  • Ramaphosa recently announced that the constitution would be amended to allow for land to be seized and redistributed without compensation to the current owners.

AFP