RECAP: Trump tweets and SA goes berserk - here's what was said and by whom

2018-08-23 15:08
US President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

US President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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WATCH: Here's why Trump is wrong about expropriation

2018-08-23 14:59

US President Donald Trump has waded into South Africa's land expropriation debate after viewing a segment on Fox News, but doesn't have all his facts straight. Watch.WATCH

It took one tweet from US President Donald Trump to shake up South African citizens and institutions alike.  

The rand tanked, and institutions as disparate as AfriForum and the EFF had something to say about it.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted that he had asked his secretary of state to look into land expropriation and the killing of farmers in South Africa.

"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," Trump tweeted.

His tweet followed a Fox News report on land expropriation in South Africa.

READ: OVERVIEW: 'There's a black genocide in SA and US' - EFF hits back at Trump

A video preview read: "'Tucker Carlson Tonight' exclusive: South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has just begun the process of seizing land from his own citizens, without compensation, purely due to their skin color. That's far more racist than anything Donald Trump has ever done, of course, but elites in America barely even care."

This is how different roleplayers reacted:

AfriForum

Afrikaner-rights group AfriForum welcomed Trump's sentiments, and even appeared to take credit for it.

"I think our lobbying has certainly had an impact because we have spoken with a lot of people who have had contact with President Trump and we have spoken with many think tanks, one of them for example the Cato Institute, which has taken a very strong stance shortly before this statement now by President Trump," AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said.

The group travelled to the US in May to lobby individual members of the US Senate and the House of Representatives.

AfriForum has been vocal in its opposition to land reform.

Government

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu, called Trump's comments "unfortunate" and added that it was "regrettable that the tweet is based on false information".

Sisulu said she would communicate with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on the matter through diplomatic channels.

Deputy President David Mabuza tried to quell farmers' fear and apprehension. Speaking at a land summit organised by Landbouweekblad and Agri SA in Bela-Bela, Limpopo, Mabuza said: "As the leadership of the ANC and government, we are clear that the implementation of land reform measures must not result in social fractures and racial polarisation.

"The land reform processes that we are undertaking poses no direct threat to the agriculture sector and the economy as a whole," he said.

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR)

IRR CEO Frans Cronjé told News24 Trump's tweet "is the making of government's own populist pronouncements about land expropriation".

"If a group of activists travelled around the world and successfully campaigned against land expropriation without compensation in South Africa, it is simply because the state has given them ammunition to do so by creating an environment for it," Cronjé said.

The EFF

EFF leader Julius Malema really laid into Trump, calling him a "pathological liar" and saying the party was not afraid of him.

"Only death will stop us, not Trump, not sanction, not all of them. We know the consequences that are coming," Malema said in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"AfriForum is the embassy of the USA, but otherwise they are nothing to us," Malema said. He added that the party was are in fact, more determined about expropriating land without compensation, especially after Trump's tweet.

AgriSA

Agri SA on Thursday initiated the #LandSummit with a "high-level assessment of the challenges and solutions to South Africa's land question".

In a statement, president Dan Kriek said: "South Africa is faced by a political dilemma from the suffering caused by apartheid and other discriminatory past practices, and Agri SA says that the political solution is to restore the dignity of our people by extending a hand of friendship of collaboration with government and fellow farmers."

The solution is "to devise a plan to provide land for housing in urban areas, land for industrialisation and land for farming. This will have to be aligned with the National Development Plan. We need more black farmers on more black farms in a sustainable and orderly way. We cannot expropriate ourselves out of trouble, we need to develop ourselves out of trouble," Kriek said.

The economy

The rand weakened 1.9% to R14.43/$ by 09:37 in Johannesburg. By 11:18, the local unit was trading 1.25% weaker at R14.33/$. Yields on benchmark 2026 government bonds rose 4 basis points to 8.97%.

"Emerging-market currencies in general have been under downward pressure since early morning in Asia amid a rebound in the dollar and Trump's tweet further added pressure on the South African currency," said Hironori Sannami, an emerging-market currency trader at Mizuho Bank.

Twitter

Many South Africans took to social media to have their say about Trump and land expropriation. 

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