SA response to Trump land tweet - 'It's based on false information'

24 August 2018 - 09:11 By TimesLIVE
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Lindiwe Sisulu.
Lindiwe Sisulu.
Image: Trevor Samson

South Africa has officially conveyed its 'unhappiness' to the US Embassy in Pretoria at Donald Trump’s tweet‚ saying it was based on false information and lobbying by groups seeking to derail the country’s land distribution programme.

International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) minister Lindiwe Sisulu called the US Embassy on Thursday to convey the message.

“The US Charge d'Affaires was informed to convey to Washington that Pretoria is disappointed about Washington's failure to use available diplomatic channels‚” Dirco said in a statement on Friday.

“Dirco also urged the Charge d'Affaires to indicate to Washington that the people of South Africa‚ of all races‚ are working together through Parliament and other legal platforms to find a solution to this historic challenge and that President Trump's tweet serves only to polarise debate on this sensitive and crucial matter.

“At the end of the meeting‚ the Charge d'Affaires committed to convey the minister's message to Washington immediately‚” the statement said.

Dirco emphasised that the tweet by the US President was “based on false information and lobbying by certain South African lobby groups that seek to derail and frustrate the land redistribution programme”.

In the statement‚ government reiterated that:

• It was following a consultative process to address land and agrarian reform and would not allow land grabs and anarchy in the process of finding a solution to the land issue.

• President (Cyril) Ramaphosa had consistently indicated that the process would be undertaken within the confines of the Constitution and in a way that grew the economy‚ ensured food security‚ and increased agricultural production. Government would not support calls for the nationalisation of land.

• Government’s policy and approach to land reform had been clarified by Deputy President David Mabuza at a Land Summit on August 23.

• Government wanted to caution against alarmist‚ false‚ inaccurate‚ misinformed‚ as well as – in some cases – politically-motivated statements that did not reflect the policies and intentions of the South African Government.

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