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September 11, 2018 | South Africa

Ramaphosa confident S.Africa won't suffer sanctions over land

AFP
South African farmers and farm workers train in the use of firearms and self defence after a spike in farm murders.  By MUJAHID SAFODIEN (AFP/File)
South African farmers and farm workers train in the use of firearms and self defence after a spike in farm murders. By MUJAHID SAFODIEN (AFP/File)

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday dismissed fears that South Africa may come under sanctions if it carries out a proposal to expropriate white farms without compensation.

US President Donald Trump tweeted last month that white farmers were being forced off their land and many of them killed, touching on the overwhelmingly white ownership of farmland in South Africa: one of the most sensitive issues in the country's post-apartheid history.

Trump said he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to look into the reforms, which have raised fears that the policy could have disastrous repercussions like in neighbouring Zimbabwe, whose economy was ruined in the process.

"We have no reason to believe that any country would impose sanctions on South Africa for any actions that we take, actions that are constitutional, that are lawful and consistent with international law," Ramaphosa told parliament, responding to a question.

Ramaphosa said South Africa would "keep on educating those who are interested in our affairs...those who may not understand the processes that we have gone through".

"And it is for this reason that we respond as we do, not only to the Americans but to whomsoever has a question about this".

According to Ramaphosa, whites, who make up eight percent of the population "possess 72 percent of farms". In contrast, only four percent of farms are in the hands of blacks.

A few days after Trump's tweet, Ramaphosa reacted angrily saying: "I don't know what Donald Trump has to do with South African land because he has never been here."

"South Africa belongs to all the people who live here in South Africa, it does not belong to Donald Trump; he can keep his America, when I meet him I will tell him."

Ramaphosa told lawmakers that "no communication was received by my office from the government of the United States of America regarding the expropriation of land without compensation".

Ramaphosa, who faces elections in 2019, has said expropriating farms without compensating their owners would "undo a grave historical injustice" against the black majority during colonialism and the apartheid era.

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