South Africa has described U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments on the country’s land reforms “narrow” and seeking to divide the southern African nation.
Trump had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to closely study land reform plans in South Africa.
“I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and large scale killing of farmers,” Trump tweeted late Wednesday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa had on August 1 announced that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) would go ahead with plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation. Whites still own most of South Africa’s land more than two decades after apartheid ended.
A statement by the South African Government says “South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.
“South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation.”
State broadcaster SABC said President Ramaphosa would seek clarification from the U.S. embassy following Trump’s tweet.
Ramaphosa had while speaking to members of Parliament on Wednesday afternoon noted that “South Africa has taken bold steps to address the colonial and historical injustices, including the dispossession of land and build a more inclusive and stable society in South Africa and the world.
“Government supports land restitution and redistribution, which will redress the sins of the past by allowing access to the land in a way that grows the economy, ensures food security, and increases agricultural production.”
The rand fell to 14.3700 against the dollar on Thursday following Trump’s late Wednesday tweet.