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South Africans Reject Trump's Characterization Of Land Ownership Issues

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South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa announced earlier that the ruling African National Congress had agreed to alter the country's constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.

"The expropriation of land without compensation is envisaged as one of the measures that we will use to accelerate redistribution of land to Black South Africans", Ramaphosa said.

"In fact, when it talks about discrimination, it says most of it is directed at blacks and the incidents of racism that it points out are all directed at blacks as well", the journalist told Nauert.

Trump's tweet appeared just days after first lady Melania Trump took a very different approach to Africa, announcing she would be visiting several countries on the continent in October in her first big solo global trip.

Many others were shocked by Trump's tweet, according to Anton Harber, who teaches journalism at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg.

The tweet drew a response overnight from the South African government, which wrote from its own account: "South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past".

- The Government of South Africa wishes to caution against alarmist, false, inaccurate and misinformed, as well as - in some cases - politically-motivated statements that do not reflect the policies and intentions of the South African Government.

But South African critics of the proposed land reform policy applauded Trump for speaking out, and the most radical supporters of the policy - like Malema - confirmed the racial motivations behind the new policy, while daring the United States to do anything about it.

Later Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the administration's position was that land expropriation without compensation "would risk sending South Africa down the wrong path".

It's unfortunate that South Africa's land policy is being prejudged while the process is still underway, Francois Groepe, a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank, said in a Bloomberg TV interview at Jackson Hole on Thursday.

South Africa's presidency summoned USA charge d'affaires Jessye Lapenn to protest Trump's tweet, a person familiar with the matter said.

What is the reaction in South Africa?

Mandela's statement echoes the South African government, which tweeted at the president on Thursday.

Asked about this, Lwazi Mtfhiyo said, "You have all these human rights bodies that are present in SA and all sorts of human rights lawyers and the human rights commission itself being in South Africa, no one is aware of that and nowhere is it recorded in any human rights report that is out there".

It continued, "South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation". Today, whites represent about 9 percent of South Africa's population but own about 72 percent of the farmland held by individuals, according to BBC. Black farmers own just 4% of the relevant land.

Still, Ramaphosa has voiced support for seizing land from white farmers.

"Everyone in South Africa should ... hope that the pressure from the U.S. will lead to the (ruling party) reconsidering the disastrous route that they want to take South Africa on", AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said in a statement Thursday.