SA govt meets with United States embassy - DIRCO

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President Donald Trump has fallen out with South Africa after taking to Twitter to criticize the government's land reforms, prompting a sharp rebuke from Pretoria.

Mr Ramaphosa announced on August 1 that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation, as white people still own most of South Africa's land.

Following US President Donald Trump's tweet about South Africa's land reform policy, President Cyril Ramaphosa has moved to assure the world that the land programme is crucial for inclusive growth. "That is literally the definition of racism".

It wasn't the first time the US envoy in South Africa has been summoned over Mr. Trump's words.

As they did a year ago after Trump repeatedly said that "both sides" were to blame after an anti-racist counter-protester was killed at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalists celebrated the president's support for their cause.

"South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception, which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past", a tweet by the president's office said.

And former U.S. ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard accused Trump of seizing on the issue in order to distract from the press surrounding the criminal convictions of two of his top former aides this week.

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.


AfriForum and other critics say the government's proposal to expropriate land without compensation could lead to economic disaster, pointing to the collapse of the agricultural sector in neighboring Zimbabwe after the government of former President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms, sometimes violently, in 2000.

The first is that of land expropriation.

Tupy, a Wits University graduate, said the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) under which South Africa traded with the U.S. required the USA president to kick out from that treaty any country that did not respect property rights.

Though the statistics relating to violence against white farmers are contested, research by one of South Africa's biggest farmers' organisations shows that murders are at a 20-year low.

AfriForum, a group that campaigns for the interests of Afrikaners in South Africa, welcomed Mr Trump's move, saying it believed it had influenced the United States president's views.

In South Africa, Trump's tweet was met with mixed reactions.

He added that he had "asked Secretary of State (Mike Pompeo) to closely study" the situation.

South Africa does have a real problem with attacks on farms.

AfriForum, which earlier this year lobbied in the U.S. against the proposed amendment of the Constitution, welcomed Trump's tweet, saying it was a victory for property owners and everyone.

He revealed that Minister of Agriculture Senzeni Zokwana has chastised state officials for not allaying white farmers' fears that their land is about to be taken. There is nothing to suggest, however, that the South African government is involved in the attacks or that it is not working to reduce them.