South Africa responds to incorrect Trump tweet on land reform plan

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Attacks on farms in South Africa are common with 446 having occurred in 2015-2016, resulting in 49 deaths.

Global wire service Reuters reported that South Africa remains a country that is deeply racially divided and unequal almost a quarter of a century after Nelson Mandela swept to power at the end of apartheid, and that Trump's comments were supported by right-wing organisations such as AfriForum in South Africa.

JOHANNESBURG South Africa's government lashed out at President Donald Trump today after he tweeted that his administration would be looking into alleged seizures of white-owned farms and the "large scale killing of farmers" in the country, an assertion it said was false and "only seeks to divide our nation and remind us of our colonial past".

Later, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a press briefing that the South African government risks going down the wrong path if it continues with land expropriation without compensation.

"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 global community, and spreading falsehoods that our "white farmers" are facing the onslaught from their own government".

A fringe group of the white minority claims land reform will inspire violent attacks, though experts say farm attacks reflect the country's generally high crime rate and are on the decline. Opponents say EWC is a threat to food security and the economy.

AgriSA president Dan Kriek echoed the minister's sentiments, telling News24 that "the message here from the land summit is that South Africans will solve our own problems".

"It is regrettable that the tweet is based on false information", Sisulu said, according to Reuters.

Officials from AfriForum welcomed Trump's tweet on Thursday, saying it would put pressure on South African authorities to act.

The state department continued to "encourage a peaceful and transparent public debate about what we consider to be a very important issue and South Africans certainly do as well".

And he said that South Africa would not make the same mistakes that other countries have made.

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"We need to get worldwide support to put pressure on the South African government to hopefully make them re-visit their stance", he told AFP. In Zimbabwe we saw the government there squash civil society, shut down the media from doing their jobs and reporting and destroyed an independent judiciary.

The lack of a U.S. ambassador to South Africa was pointed out, to which she replied that all the relevant bodies were working hard and it was not something that happened overnight.

"First, land reforms have been proposed in parliament in South Africa, but not yet adopted". "You have caused enough problems in Africa", he told journalists.

"We must put it on record, unequivocally, that Donald "the pathological liar" Trump, we are not scared of you and your U.S. or Western imperialist forces", said Malema, the leader of the small but vocal Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opposition party.

Trump's intervention could have a serious effect on trade relations between the US and Africa's second-largest economy.

"Everyone in South Africa should therefore hope that the pressure from the United States of America will lead to the ANC reconsidering the disastrous route that they want to take SA on", AfriForum's CEO, Kallie Kriel, said.

That tweet followed a Fox News report on land expropriation in South Africa.

Today, almost a quarter-century after the first democratic elections, black South Africans, who comprise 80 percent of the population, still own just 4 percent of the country's land, according to the government.

Progress has been slow.

Some noted that Trump's tweet came just days after he was accused by a former White House staffer of using the N-word.

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