Published: Sat, August 25, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

South Africa blasts Trump over white farmers tweet

South Africa blasts Trump over white farmers tweet

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said expropriating land without compensation "would risk sending South Africa down the wrong path", but she did not repeat the president's suggestion that large numbers of white South African farmers had been killed.

President Donald Trump has been watching Fox News again.

Trump's tweet, which was praised by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, came just after Tucker Carlson dedicated a segment of his Fox News program to the bogus conspiracy, which has been promoted by white nationalists and members of the alt-right.

South African Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said she would be seeking clarification from the USA over Trump's "unfortunate comments".

"South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception, which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past", the government said.

Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has taken note of a statement issued by the U.S. Department of State issued after Trump's tweet, the Foreign Affairs department said.

But AfriForum, an organization that mostly represents white South Africans, welcomed Trump's intervention and described the land expropriation plans as "catastrophic". A similar push by Zimbabwe's government in the early 2000s is blamed by many with cratering the economy and leading to widespread shortages, joblessness and hyperinflation.

Almost a quarter-century after the end of apartheid, white South Africans, who comprise about 8 percent of the population, own more than 70 percent of the private agricultural land.

The U.S. State Department was not immediately available for comment on Trump's tweet.

The South African land redistribution has been a controversial topic since it was announced in early August.

As viciously as Bob Mugabe defended the controversial way in which white farmers were booted from their land, he had no problem going to the Western powers with hat in hand, demanding worldwide aid in solving the run away debt Zimbabwe found itself in.

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Still, Trump's tweet Wednesday was met with anger from the South African government, which characterized his unsubstantiated claim as "misinformed".

South Africa is a country marred by its long history of racial discrimination. The current owners, the Akkerland Boerdery company, say that the government offered them only 10 percent of the market value for their property.

Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance party which opposes forced expropriation but backs land reform, said "fear mongering by worldwide leaders adds no value". Trump is well known for speaking before thinking, but perhaps we have overlooked a few things that the global community have a right to be concerned about.

The US is one of South Africa's biggest trading partners.

AgriSA released statistics on farm murders that stated that there were 47 South African farmers murdered in a span of 12 months.

For years, a small but vocal group of white South Africans have claimed white farmers are the target of violent, racially motivated farm attacks.

It's hard to say what Trump meant by "large-scale killing".

Trump's tweet was the latest in a series of false and misleading claims he has made during his campaign and presidency.

"Reforming the land distribution and ownership will be good for South Africa", said independent political analyst Nic Borain. This is consistent with a steady decline since a peak of violence in 1998 when 153 died.

Members of Afriforum, the South African white supremacist group, recently toured the United States and its causes have been taken up by other white supremacists, including Duke, according to Jill Kelly, a South Africa scholar at Southern Methodist University.

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