False information meant to derail land reform: Sisulu

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

South Africa on Monday maintained that US President Donald Trump’s tweet last week, about the land redistribution programme, was based on false information.

This information, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said, was from lobbying by certain South African groups that seek to derail and frustrate the land redistribution programme.

Last Thursday, Trump took to social media to voice his concern and tweeted that he had called on his Secretary of State to study South African “land and farm seizures” and the “large scale killing of farmers”.

“The tweet was unfortunate and it was based on information that cannot be verified. If they had verified, we would have happily clarified it. But after the US Chargé d'Affaires meeting, everything was clarified and this resulted in the response statement from the State Department,” Sisulu said in her regular media briefing on the work of her department.

In that statement, Sisulu said the State Department mentioned that they are following the reports of the land redistribution programme, while acknowledging South Africa’s strong democracy and resilient institutions such a free press and independent judiciary. 

South Africa strives and will continue to keep balanced and solid relations with all its trading countries, said Sisulu.

“We were taken aback by this tweet and the effect that it had. We have good relations with the US and we do not want to any adverse relations with any country because we are currently trying to attract investments and we are keen on ensuring that our country is on sound footing and make sure that we can provide jobs for our unemployed, especially the youth.”

Sisulu went on 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.

She reiterated that the land redistribution programme process is undertaken within the confines of the Constitution.

This process, she said, is being done in a manner that grows the economy, ensures food security, and increases agricultural production while correcting the injustices of the past.

Still on US relations, Sisulu said her department has put in place a team to assess the impact of US sanctions against Iran.

In May, Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the 15-year Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Previously‚ sanctions imposed on Iran by America saw a massive decline in trade between the countries, which also impacted on Pretoria, which has strong and longstanding trade relations with both countries.

Meanwhile, Sisulu used the briefing to clarify reports on the Russian vessel that was arrested in Port Elizabeth with explosive additives last week.

Sisulu said she has been in communication with her Russian counterpart to get the facts. She confirmed that the vessel contained controlled items that were in transit and were going to be offloaded in South Africa and other African countries.

The Minister said the private company-owned vessel did not have the necessary transit permit as required in the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, 1993 (Act No. 97 of 1993) -- the legislation that provides for control over such weapons. – SAnews.gov.za