South Africa: Meeting between DIRCO and US Embassy Following President Trump's Tweet on Land Redistribution in South Africa

Trump tweet on SA land expropriation.
25 August 2018
Department of International Relations (Pretoria)
press release

The Embassy of the United States of America (USA)  in Pretoria was called in today, 23 August 2018, as directed by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon Lindiwe Sisulu, to convey the unhappiness of the people and the Government of South Africa following a tweet by President Donald J. Trump based on false information and lobbying by certain South African lobby groups that seek to derail and frustrate the land redistribution programme.

The US Charge d'Affaires was informed to convey to Washington that Pretoria is dissapointed about Washington's failure to use available diplomatic channels.

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 polarize 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 Government of South Africa wishes to reiterate the following:

- That it is following a consultative process in addressing the issue of land and agrarian reform and that it will not allow land grabs and anarchy in the process of finding a solution to the land issue. In this regard, President Cyril Ramaphosa has directly addressed investors and agricultural associations and will continue this process of engagement and consultation with all stakeholders to find solutions that are in the best interest of the country, the economy and the people of South Africa.

- President Ramaphosa has also consistently indicated that this process will be undertaken within the confines of the Constitution and in a manner that grows the economy, ensures food security, and increases agricultural production. He has also, in Parliament, underlined that the Government would not support calls for the nationalisation of land.

- The Government’s policy and approach to land reform has furthermore also been clarified in remarks that have been made by Deputy President David Mabuza at a Land Summit held today, 23 August 2018.

- The Government of South Africa wishes to caution against alarmist, false, inaccurate and misinformed, as well as – in some cases – politically-motivated statements that do not reflect the policies and intentions of the South African Government.

The Minister has taken note of the statement that was provided by the US Department of State following earlier diplomatic engagements indicating, amongst others, that the difficult issue of land reform is being undertaken through an open process including public hearings, broad-based consultations, and active civil society engagement.

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