South Africa has criticized President Donald Trump over tweets he made on Wednesday over the country’s land reform policies, according to CNN.
Trump said that he instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to examine the African country’s rules about land seizures, seemingly responding to a report that aired on Fox News on Wednesday.
I have asked Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo] to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large-scale killing of farmers. ‘South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers,'” he wrote while tagging Tucker Carlson, host of Tucker Carlson Tonight, who did a story that the South African government was taking land away from White farmers.
I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018
The South African government responded to the president’s tweets on Thursday saying that it was “based on false information.”
“South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past,” the government said in a tweet. “South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation.”
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) August 23, 2018
Past land policies in the country heavily favored White South Africans when the land was taken away from Black and non-White citizens, per CNN.
White people in South Africa make up 8 percent of the population, but own 72 percent of the land, according to The Guardian, which viewed a Land Audit Report.
A spokeswoman for South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa told CNN that Trump’s comments were “hysterical” and that many in the country want to see new policies.
“The majority of South Africans want to see land reform,” the spokeswoman said. “The majority of our farmers, white and black want to be a part of this initiative.”
The killing of farmers in South Africa is at a 20-year low, according to a June 2018 report by the nation’s largest farmer organization AgriSA, contradicting Trump’s tweet of “large-scale killing of farmers.”
“The kind of statement that Trump made is characteristic of him. It is unfortunate, ill-informed, it is incendiary. What it does demonstrate is that the white right wing in South Africa has been successful in internationalizing their agenda,” Ruth Hall, an expert on land issues in South Africa, told CNN.