STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

South Africa's Ramaphosa: Trump is 'ill-informed'

In an exclusive interview with CNN's David McKenzie, the South African leader criticized the US President and said South Africa needs to solve its land dilemma or face instability.

Posted: Nov 22, 2018 5:30 AM
Updated: Nov 22, 2018 5:44 AM

In an exclusive interview with CNN, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized Donald Trump's views on South Africa's land debate and blamed -- in part -- "fringe groups" lobbying in the US.

"They are finding people who get some resonance with what they are saying, and these people are ill-informed about what is happening here. Just as President Trump was ill-informed about the messages that they are beaming out," said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa's comments come as CNN released an investigation proving ties between US and South African far-right groups and a growing belief in the myth of a white genocide of South African farmers.

CNN's investigation shows that those ideas have gained resonance far beyond ultra-right groups and have spread into the mainstream.

"Those people overseas that are taken in by this message of whites in South Africa being under threat, they are looking at South Africa through the lens of black versus white. And South Africa has long moved away from that," said Ramaphosa.

"In the main, most of them are racists. And they are not very positively disposed toward black people. Their voice, a seemingly prominent voice, is because they are talking on race issues and saying there is a racial war. There is no racial war in South Africa. White South Africans are working with us to resolve this issue," he said.

Some of these groups say that they are just fighting for the rights of minority populations -- in this case White South Africans.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that tracks white supremacists, says that Trump helped legitimize the conspiracy theories.

In late August, after apparently watching a segment on Fox News, Trump tweeted a request for Secretary of State Steve Pompeo to "closely study the South African land farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers."

In response to queries by CNN, the US State Department didn't detail what "close study" has occurred but said Pompeo had raised the issue with his counterpart in late September.

"Expropriation of land without compensation risks sending South Africa down the wrong path. That remains the US position," said Carrie Schneider, the acting spokesperson of the US Embassy in Pretoria.

"President Ramaphosa has indicated that land reform would be undertaken without damaging the economy.

"While South Africa has the sovereign right to amend its constitution, we believe its decisions should be consistent with the rule of law and preserve the investment climate."

The African National Congress-led government is pushing forward with the controversial move by amending the constitution.

For decades under apartheid, and for centuries under colonial rule, non-whites in South Africa were forced off the majority of viable land in South Africa. With democracy, land redistribution was a major policy priority of the ANC-led government.

Still, more than 20 years on, most land is owned by whites.

Ramaphosa admitted the government's goals of land redistribution since the era of Nelson Mandela have been harmed by fraud, corruption and a lack of capacity, but maintains that things will be different during his Presidency.

South Africa's President was the lead negotiator for the ANC in the transition to democracy -- in the land question, he faces, arguably, an even more complex challenge.

Agricultural unions, opposition groups and many commercial farmers say that the expropriation without compensation is unnecessary and risks hurting agricultural production and a fragile economy.

Ramaphosa tried to allay investor fears, saying that land reform could unlock economic potential and pull people out of poverty. He said government land and land lying fallow would be the first to be targeted in an accelerated reform plan.

Ramaphosa has become one of South Africa's richest men by building up a formidable portfolio and taking advantage of his connections with business and the ruling party.

Still, he put the land issue in stark, personal terms.

"The impact of apartheid on black families was devastating. In my own family it happened twice, where land was taken, we were moved from where my parents had grown up owning land, working the land, they were moved and dropped into an arid place with no compensation whatsoever," he said. "As it is now, the poverty that we have in South Africa, in part, has been given rise to by people not having assets."

Asked if he feared failing in his mission, the former trade union negotiator was firm about his prospects.

"A lot is at stake. You could even say the stability of the country is at stake. And I am not fond of failing at anything."

Huntsville
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 71°
Florence
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 71°
Fayetteville
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 71°
Decatur
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 71°
Scottsboro
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 71°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

 

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 856428

Reported Deaths: 12305
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby963281628
Davidson89609941
Knox51090636
Hamilton44530496
Rutherford43174437
Williamson28104217
Sumner24122349
Montgomery20392227
Wilson18902236
Out of TN1823699
Sullivan16916298
Unassigned16906134
Blount15551196
Bradley15096151
Washington14681245
Maury13535172
Sevier13441175
Putnam11435175
Madison11245241
Robertson9785132
Anderson8792171
Hamblen8631173
Greene7924156
Tipton7388104
Coffee6922122
Dickson6850113
Cumberland6762133
Carter6660158
Gibson6535146
McMinn653498
Bedford6521128
Roane6317105
Jefferson6242125
Loudon615869
Hawkins6155107
Lawrence598189
Monroe587096
Warren555081
Dyer5440106
Franklin516390
Fayette511677
Cheatham457356
Obion454896
Cocke452299
Lincoln436763
Rhea435775
Marshall420258
Campbell417563
Weakley415665
Giles4009100
Henderson380276
White367770
Carroll363283
Macon363078
Hardin358868
Hardeman352864
Henry320276
Lauderdale320244
Claiborne318973
Scott314945
Marion312847
Overton302461
Wayne296834
Hickman284746
McNairy284054
DeKalb280654
Smith278739
Haywood271562
Grainger263550
Morgan251239
Trousdale250522
Fentress242647
Johnson241739
Bledsoe215611
Chester215451
Polk208524
Unicoi204549
Crockett203549
Cannon192631
Union191634
Humphreys181128
Grundy179534
Sequatchie171629
Lake170626
Benton167040
Decatur159239
Lewis158326
Meigs139025
Stewart132828
Jackson132336
Clay110330
Houston109733
Perry107128
Moore101417
Van Buren85323
Pickett75924
Hancock59312

Community Events