After growing controversy stemming from the planned seizure of white-owned farms in South Africa, President Trump has directed the United States to get involved.
“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,” President Trump tweeted Thursday.
He then added a quote from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson: “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.”
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.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018
In an effort to reduce the number of white-owned farms, the South African government has decided to seize white-owned farmland without providing payment, Fortune reported Thursday.
White farmers own 72 percent of the farmland in South Africa, even though whites only comprise eight percent of the population. Black farmers own only four percent of farmland, while Indian farmers own five percent, and mixed race farmers own 15 percent.
The South African government has been unable to reduce the proportion of white farmers – which it believes to be the leftover effects of segregation and white supremacy – despite purchasing white-owned farmland.
It has decided to simply steal the land instead, as a retaliatory measure against white farmers for the past actions of white supremacist government leaders.
In February, the South African parliament voted in favor of amending its constitution to confiscate white-owned farmland without compensation.
Julius Malema, leader of the extreme left Economic Freedom Fights party, initiated the motion.
“The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice. We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land,” he said, according to News.com.au
However, the government may begin carrying out the seizures without the amendment. A letter from the government was sent to two farmers in the northern province of Limpopo, in which the farm owners were warned that their farms would soon be seized because their asking price was too high.
In Zimbabwe, white-owned farms were seized by government without compensation, causing devastating effects on the agriculture-driven economy.
The issue of large-scale killings of farmers has been disputed, however.
The South African government responded to President Trump’s tweet, calling the information false, and saying it conveys a “narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) August 23, 2018
Yet many stories continue to surface of white farmers killed in cold blood – a sight so common that some claim it no longer makes headlines in South Africa. Some say the murders are vengeance killings and political hate.
Agri SA, a South African commercial farmers union, claims that only 47 farm murders occurred in the past year, a rate which is said to be the lowest in 19 years. However, AfriForum lobbying group said they’ve verified the names and identities of 84 farmers murdered in the past year, ABC News Online reported.