South African President Says Trump Is ‘Ill-Informed’ About Land And Farm Seizures
By Sharelle Burt
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa thinks that President Donald Trump is slightly confused about the country’s land and farm issues. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Ramaphosa said “fringe groups” lobbying in the U.S. are partly to blame. “They are finding people who get some resonance with what they are saying, and these people are ill-informed about what is happening here,” Ramaphosa said. “Just as President Trump was ill-informed about the messages that they are beaming out.”
Back in August, Trump tweeted a request to Secretary of State, Steve Pompeo asking him to “closely study the South African land farm seizures and expropriations and the large-scale killing of farmers.” In response, the US State Department hasn’t revealed if a “close study” has occurred. “Expropriation of land without compensation risks sending South Africa down the wrong path. That remains the US position,” said U.S. Embassy spokesperson Carrie Schneider. “President Ramaphosa has indicated that land reform would be undertaken without damaging the economy.”
This morning, CNN released the details of an investigation exposing the relationship between the U.S. and South African far-right groups and others who are supposed to be fighting for the rights of minority populations. New reports give credit to the myth that there has been a genocide of white South African farmers, who are the minority in the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center, who tracks white supremacists, says Trump helped ignite these conspiracy theories. “In the main, most of them are racists. And they are not very positively disposed toward black people,” Ramaphosa told CNN. “Their voice, a seemingly prominent voice, is because they are talking on race issues and saying there is a racial war. There is no racial war in South Africa. White South Africans are working with us to resolve this issue.”
The South African president has admitted that the goals for land distribution have been put on hold since Nelson Mandala’s reign because of fraud and corruption, but promises that things will be different during his time in office. Ramaphosa is known for working with his business connections and ruling party, building an impressive portfolio, making him one of the richest men in South Africa. He has stopped the fears of investors, saying that land reform could help the country’s economic potential and help people in poverty. “The impact of apartheid on black families was devastating. In my own family it happened twice, where land was taken, we were moved from where my parents had grown up owning land, working the land, they were moved and dropped into an arid place with no compensation whatsoever,” Ramaphosa said. “As it is now, the poverty that we have in South Africa, in part, has been given rise to by people not having assets.”
Under the law of apartheid and colonial rule, non-whites in South Africa were forced off the profitable land in South Africa for years. Because of democracy, land redistribution was a major priority for the ANC-led government, but whites still own most land.