President Donald Trump says he has instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “closely study the South Africa land and farm seizure and large scale killing of farmers,” hyping a fringe talking point about Pretoria “seizing land from white farmers.”

His tweet late Wednesday ET about South African land reform prompted a sharp response from the government.

He included the handle of Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson in his tweet. Carlson had discussed the issue on his show Wednesday, introducing the segment by saying, “South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has just begun the process of seizing land from his own citizens, without compensation, because they’re the wrong skin color. That is literally the definition of racism.”

Carlson then went on to criticize “elites” that criticize Trump for racism while “paying no attention” to the “racist government of South Africa.” The segment seems to have prompted Trump to instruct Pompeo to look into the matter.

Deputy President David Mabuza has accused US President Donald Trump of spreading misinformation about South Africa’s land reform policies, but the country’s relations with the US are set to continue as normal.

Mabuza’s comments were in response to a tweet where Trump said he had instructed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures” and the “large scale killings of farmers”.

Rumours of a high rate of racially targeted farm murders in South Africa have been debunked by fact-checking organisation Africa Check.

Speaking at a land summit in Bela-Bela, Limpopo on Thursday, Mabuza dismissed Trump’s comments as a distortion of South Africa’s land reform.

“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 international community and spreading falsehoods that our ‘white farmers’ are facing the onslaught from their own government. This is far from the truth,” Mabuza said.

The deputy president added that the ANC does not support “land grabs”, explaining that land expropriation measures would be “within the confines of our constitutional framework”.

Trump’s tweet has roused a reaction from senior politicians in South Africa, who have treated the US president’s remark with measured resistance.

In a statement, International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu described the tweet as “unfortunate” and “based on false information” in a statement. Sisulu has instructed officials from her department to meet with the US embassy in Pretoria to gain clarity on the matter.

Though there appears to be resistance from the government to Trump’s comments on land reform, relations between South Africa and the US are set to continue as normal according to communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane. The minister was speaking at a briefing in Parliament on Wednesday.

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Oludare J. Olusan
Oludare J. Olusan 235 posts

Publisher, Entrepreneur, Author and founder of The African portal.

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