South Africa Shocked After Trump Dings Country For Seizing White Farmers’ Land

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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South Africa accused President Donald Trump of stoking racial division Thursday after the president suggested his administration would study the country’s policy of seizing farmers’ land.

The government blasted Trump’s tweet calling out land seizures in South Africa. It called the president’s message “false information” that reflects a “narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.”

“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,” the president told his Twitter followers Wednesday.

South Africa is leaping headlong into a racially charged debate over land reform, which lawmakers believe will correct the legacy of white minority rule that stripped black South Africans of their land. The country is offering white farmers meager compensation for the property. The country seizes the land if the farmers refuse to sell out.

Black South Africans make up about 80 percent of the population but own just 4 percent of the country’s land, according to government officials. Lawmakers approved the motion in March brought by the radical Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party as part of a so-called “land reform” program to even the disparity in ownership between South Africa’s black majority and white minority.

Some lawmakers in the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, along with agricultural economists, worry South Africa is taking the same path Zimbabwe did when it initiated its own mass land expropriation program in the early 2000s. Zimbabwe, under former dictator Robert Mugabe, seized and redistributed land from about 4,000 white farmers to landless black people to compensate them for years of colonial rule. (RELATED: Will South Africa’s Plans To Expropriate White-Owned Land Turn It Into Zimbabwe?)

Zimbabwe’s land confiscation destroyed the country’s once thriving agricultural sector and forced the government to rely on international aid to feed 25 percent of its population. Between 2000 and 2009, agricultural revenue declined by $12 billion, The Washington Post reported, citing Zimbabwe’s commercial farmers’ union.

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