SA to meet US government officials over Trump tweet

The South African government will meet US government officials in Pretoria on Thursday over US President Donald Trump's tweet over land expropriation and farm murders, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said on Thursday.

"The minister... Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, has noted the unfortunate comments on Twitter by the President of the United States of America, H.E. Donald J. Trump, on land redistribution and crime," Dirco stated.

"It is regrettable that the tweet is based on false information. The Minister has thus instructed the Department to meet with the US Embassy in Pretoria to seek clarification on the matter today, 23 August 2018."

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. 

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane told media that it was "a pity" that Trump had claimed that South Africa had amended the Constitution.

Sisulu would also communicate on the matter with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo through diplomatic channels.

"Minister Sisulu said South Africa has good political, economic and trade relations with the United States of America and that diplomatic channels remain open to provide clarity on issues of mutual interest."

On the Fox show on Wednesday, Carlson read out a statement by the US state department: "We are aware of these reports and have been following this issue very closely for some time. South Africa is a strong democracy, with resilient institutions including a free press and an independent judiciary.

"South Africans are grappling with the difficult issue of land reform through an open process, including public hearings, broad-based consultations, and active civil society engagement. President Ramaphosa has pledged that the land reform process will follow the rule of law and its implementation will not adversely affect economic growth, agricultural production or food security."

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