Trump tweet proves we've landed ourselves in a mess‚ warns race watchdog

23 August 2018 - 16:20 By Dave Chambers
The IRR says comments by US President Donald Trump on SA's plans to expropriate land are a sign of the damage being done to the country's international standing.
The IRR says comments by US President Donald Trump on SA's plans to expropriate land are a sign of the damage being done to the country's international standing.
Image: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

US President Donald Trump’s tweet about land expropriation in South Africa is an indication of the damage being done by the government’s “reckless” approach‚ says the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR).

The institute‚ which has launched an international campaign against expropriation without compensation‚ said the tweet was more evidence that the issue was having consequences for the country's international standing.

“Seen alongside South Africa’s decision to terminate its bilateral investment treaties‚ expropriation without compensation has prompted a great deal of concern about the security of their assets‚ particularly among the European investors most directly impacted‚” the institute said in a statement on Thursday.

“Even President [Cyril] Ramaphosa’s investment envoys have referred to the difficulties that expropriation without compensation has created for them in attempting to attract desperately needed funds to South Africa.”

IRR warned that expropriation without compensation had implications for South Africa’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

“Countries participating in Agoa must be‚ or be working towards‚ ‘a market-based economy that protects private property rights’. Intellectual property and private security ownership requirements [both property rights issues] have already been sources of tension with the US within the Agoa context‚" it said.

“Expropriation without compensation could well lead to SA’s exclusion. This would be a significant disadvantage for SA‚ putting large volumes of exports and potentially tens of thousands of jobs at risk.”

Saying there was survey evidence that land – particularly in the agrarian sense – was not seen as a priority by South Africans‚ the institute added: “It is remarkable that SA’s government is apparently willing to risk its own economic interests for a policy choice that will do nothing to resolve the issues for which it is nominally being adopted.”


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