'Killings of white farmers': Presidency clarifies Ramaphosa's comment

2018-09-27 19:12
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit before the start of the General Debate of the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York. (AFP)

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit before the start of the General Debate of the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York. (AFP)

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The Presidency has clarified that President Cyril Ramaphosa was referring to alleged mass killings of white farmers when he said there "were no killings of white farmers" in the country.

Ramaphosa was quizzed by Bloomberg about whether he had discussed with US President Donald Trump his controversial tweet alleging large scale killing of white farmers. The two leaders met during a luncheon on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

In an interview during the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, Ramaphosa said they never had time to talk about the tweet. Trump had asked the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to closely study South African land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large-scale killing of farmers.

"South African government is now seizing land from white farmers," Trump added in the tweet.

Ramaphosa said they didn’t get time to talk about the tweet, but that their engagement during lunch was an opportunity to greet and shake hands.

He said Trump was misinformed.

"Whoever gave him that information was completely wrong. There are no killings of farmers or white farmers in South Africa," Ramaphosa said in the interview.

READ: Ramaphosa in US - Rest assured, SA will solve its own problems

It has since been shared widely on social media, with some users accusing him of lying.

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said Ramaphosa was referring to allegations of large-scale killings of white farmers.

"He meant it in the context of the mass killings of farm workers, as inferred by Trump. There is no one in SA targeting white people or farmers. Crime is happening in all our communities," Diko said.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) hauled officials of the US embassy in South Africa to convey its "unhappiness" over the tweet. Dirco said at the time that the tweet was based on false information and lobbying by certain South African lobby groups that wanted to "derail and frustrate" the land redistribution programme.

The tweet followed a trip by lobby group AfriForum to the US. They claimed Trump's tweet was a result of their lobbying.

In the interview, Ramaphosa said there was also no land grabs in the country.

"We are involved in a process of discussing land reform. Land was the original sin in the history of South Africa. We are seeking to put right what was done wrong many years ago... when the majority of the land mass of the country was appropriated by a minority," he said.

Read more on:    un  |  donald trump  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  land  |  social media  |  land expropriation

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