Trump's South Africa comments draw rebuttal from South Africa

South Africa's government Twitter handle rebutted President Trump after Trump tweeted Thursday that he is having the State Department investigate South African expropriations of white-owned farmland and murders of white farmers.
By Rick Docksai | Jan 14, 2019
South African officials rebuked President Trump following the U.S. president's tweet early Thursday in which he said he has asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to consider taking action against "land farm seizures" and "large scale killing of farmers" in South Africa. The South African government responded with tweets of its own that noted that violence against farmers is at an historic low and accuses Trump of needlessly sowing divisions within their country.

Trump was reacting to a Fox News segment in which news pundit Tucker Carlson was condemning plans by the South African government to seize farms from two white owners without compensating them. The South African government announced plans earlier this month to forcibly take 139 white-owned farms and to enact a constitutional amendment that would make these land seizures legal.

Whites constitute 8% of South Africa's population but own 72% of the farms, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa us calling for taking and redistributing white-owned property in the interests of greater social equity.

Meanwhile, black gangs have been known to target white-owned property owners over the years with organized attacks involving vandalism, theft, rape, and often torture and murder. An estimated 153 farmers died in such attacks in 1998. Attacks have declined, with 84 recorded farmer deaths in 2017 being the lowest death total in 20 years.

"South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past," tweeted an official South African government Twitter handle, in a post that tagged Trump's. The handle followed with a statement that said that the government is trying to negotiate land sales with white farmers peacefully: "South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation."


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