If US President Donald Trump had been in the audience, President Cyril Ramaphosa would have told him not to worry about South Africa because the country would solve its own problems in typical fashion.
"I would have told him: Mr Trump,
rest assured. This problem is going to be solved in a typical South African
way, because we've been able to solve our problems in the past."
Delivering the David Rockefeller memorial lecture at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Monday, Ramaphosa also said he believed Trump should have gone to more trouble to obtain the correct information before attacking South Africa on Twitter about land grabs and farm murders.
Ramaphosa said South Africa had sent an explainer on government's plans regarding land reform to the US state department.
International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will be meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York on Friday to discuss the matter.
Ramaphosa reiterated that land grabs would not take place, that land reform would be implemented in terms of the law and that the economy and food security would not be compromised.
Land reform is necessary to rectify transgressions of the past, to grow the economy and to create jobs, Ramaphosa said.
The audience of distinguished guests listened to Ramaphosa in complete silence.
When Ramaphosa made the comment about Trump not having to worry about South Africa's problems, facilitator Roger Altman told Ramaphosa that Trump was not a member of that organisation, to laughter from the audience.
'Corruption not limited to the state'
There was more laughter when Ramaphosa asked Altman whether he should "stand or kneel" for the question-and-answer session after his speech.
Ramaphosa also explained what government hoped to achieve with its economic stimulus plan.
The president also praised the South African media and said that large-scale corruption in the country had been uncovered thanks to a free press and investigative journalism.
According to Ramaphosa, the country's criminal justice system will be "busy" for the next few years upon completion of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.
Ramaphosa said corruption was not limited to the state – it also occurred in the private sector and involved large international companies.
*Netwerk24 reporter Sarel van der Walt is a political journalist accompanying the president by invitation of the Presidency and the Department of International Relations to report on events in New York for Media24's publications.