US President Donald Trump has waded into South Africa’s land expropriation debate. He tweeted on Wednesday that he had directed a study on what he called land and farm seizures.
Trump said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been detailed 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 South African government issued a reply hours later via Twitter stating that it rejected overtures that sought to divide the nation and ‘reminds us of our colonial past.’
‘South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation,’ a follow up tweet added.
In February 2018, South Africa’s parliament passed a law that allows for the expropriation of land without compensation, a move that has deeply divided a country that was racially scarred through the period of apartheid.
Despite opposition from the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), the ruling African National Congress and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) ensured that the motion passed with 241 votes in favour and 83 against.
Political and economic analysts have warned that the move if not well handled could result in crisis that could affect the country in the medium to long term.
A parliamentary committee is due to report back to the chamber by August 30. Together, the ANC, the EFF and other small opposition parties could muster the two-thirds majority needed for a constitutional change, but it is not clear when, or if, a vote will take place.