After tweeting about the legal troubles surrounding his former personal lawyer and his campaign chair, Donald Trump grabbed attention with a tweet about South Africa. He wrote, “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.”
Trump tagged Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in the Tweet after he criticized the State Department for not addressing South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s proposed land reforms. The country’s official government Twitter page responded with a message that read, “South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.”
Black South Africans make up 80% of the population in the country and only 4% own fertile land, and redistribution of land has been a key point for the ruling party, the African National Congress. The ANC is pushing for accelerating the redistribution of land ahead of an election, and expropriate some land seized by white South Africans during apartheid.
However, the South African government is not “seizing land from white farmers” as Trump’s tweet states. Earlier this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa made a statement about the situation, stating, “We still have a festering wound in terms of how the land was taken from our people and that wound needs to be healed and the only way to heal that wound is to give land to the people. Doing so will ensure a fair and prosperous future for all of our people.”
The part of Trump’s tweet about “large scale killing of farmers” has also been condemned. South Africa’s largest farmers’ organizations, AgriSA, states that the number of murders is at a 20-year low.
The Anti-Defamation League also released a statement on Trump’s tweet, which read, “It is extremely disturbing that the President of the United States echoed a longstanding and false white supremacist claim that South Africa’s white farmers are targets of large-scale, racially-motivated killings by South Africa’s black majority.
“We would hope that the President would try to understand the facts and realities of the situation in South Africa, rather than repeat disturbing, racially divisive talking points used most frequently by white supremacists.”