Updated: February 28, 2021
The South African government attacked President Donald Trump on Thursday, calling him “misinformed”, following his tweet over land reforms that seemed to fuel white supremacists’ belief that it was ok for 9 percent of whites in South Africa to continue to own 72 percent of land, even after the end of the brutal apartheid two decades ago.
Mr. Trump tweeted that he had directed Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to “closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures” and the “large scale killing of farmers.”
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His directive, as New York Daily News put it, was based on a “Fox News’ segment about a common racist conspiracy theory that’s been embraced by white supremacists”.
The South African government said Trump’s tweet was based on “false information.”
“South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past,” the country’s government said in a tweet on Thursday.
Decades after the end of apartheid, injustices against black majority persist. The whites who constitute only 9 percent of the population own 72 percent of land they forcefully snatched from the blacks.
These persistent injustices have continued to anger blacks and increased tensions in recent years.
Last month, South Africa said it would move forward with plans to amend its constitution, allowing land to be expropriated without compensation.
Floyd Shivambu, deputy president of the Economic Freedom Fighters, a radical party which backs the expropriation of land from the whites without compensation, attacked Trump for misrepresenting the issue and labeled him a “racist bigot.”
“That’s madness and highest form of foolishness by a racist bigot, who lacks the basic intelligence to understand anything. South Africa will never be intimidated by global racists who believe in lies,” he tweeted.
President Trump has been accused of being a racist and playing the card of white nationalists, accusations he has denied.
He’s troubled at home and in an interview with Fox News, he warned that the economy would fall apart should he be impeached.
Democrats are expected to win Congress in November and with former aides pleading guilty and implicating him, there are fears that the bombastic businessman turned politician may be impeached and even jailed.
AfriForum, a lobbying group based in South Africa that advocates for the rights and interests of the country’s white minority, has stirred up by white supremacists ire by spreading false reports about race-based killings, Nydailynews.com said, adding that there was no evidence of an increase of such murders taking place.
The government noted 47 murders and 638 attacks on farm owners, whose race was not specified, over the past year. That is historically low when compared with a high of 140 killings and 1,069 attacks over the same period in 2001-2002.
“People are not being targeted because of their race, but because they are vulnerable and isolated on the farms,” said Gareth Newham, head of the crime and justice program at the Institute for Security Studies in the capital, Pretoria.