US President Donald Trump is not needed to solve land reform issues, farmers and other roleplayers in the South African agricultural sector said on Thursday, slamming his comments about land expropriation.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted: "I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. 'South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers'."
That tweet followed a Fox News report on land expropriation in South Africa. In it, host Tucker Carlson interviewed Marian Tupy, an analyst at the Cato Institute, a think tank in Washington.
Speaking on the sidelines of a land summit in Bela Bela on Thursday, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane responded to Trump's tweets by saying: "This is our country and only solutions that come from where we live will work."
AgriSA president Dan Kriek echoed the minister's sentiments, telling News24 that "the message here from the land summit is that South Africans will solve our own problems".
Long-time Free State farmer Nick Serfontein said that Trump's tweet would undoubtedly excite a number of conservative people in South Africa, who think someone else will deal with the issues at hand.
"But it's rubbish, it's absolute rubbish. We don't need Donald Trump, we can sort out our own things," said Serfontein.
'He lost his mind'
Patrick Sekwatlakwatla, who works with Serfontein, said that the African continent should be careful of what the American president says.
"He is a man that I can say to you today, he lost his mind," Sekwatlakwatla told News24.
"We don't want the international community to help us sort our problems in South Africa. South African people are united.
"We believe that we can solve our problems ourselves, as South Africans."
Shasha Moleko from Isizwe Sonke Agricultural Group, which helps emerging farmers, said Trump had no authority to make comments about land reform, because his "facts" were false.
"What he said is totally wrong and it's not true," Moleko said.
Deputy President David Mabuza, who also addressed the land summit, told farmers that people who were using the emotive and sensitive issue of land to divide South Africans should be discouraged from doing so, because they were distorting land reform measures in the international community and spreading falsehoods.
Lobby group AfriForum travelled to the US in May to lobby individual members of the US Senate and the House of Representatives on the land issue and farmer safety.
On Thursday, AfriForum told News24 that it's lobbying "certainly had an impact".