Mandela’s grandson: Trump tweet about South Africa shows ‘total ignorance of reality’

Nelson Mandela’s grandson slammed President Trump on Thursday for “arrogant” tweets about South Africa’s land reform program, saying it show’s Trump’s “total ignorance of reality.”

Trump said early Thursday that he’s asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to look into “land farm seizures” and the “large scale killing of farmers” in South Africa after Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired a segment on the topic.

Nkozi Mandela, a member of the Pan African Parliament and grandson to the former president, tore into Trump’s statements, Time reported Thursday.


“President Donald Trump’s unfortunate tweet shows disrespect for South Africa’s sovereignty and our commitment to justice and redress,” Mandela said in a statement. “Trump once again demonstrates a total ignorance of reality. We will not be dictated to, threatened or pressured into accepting a land deal that perpetuates the injustices of the past.”

Mandela said Trump should be focusing on his own domestic challenges and “the fundamental issues that the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign raises.”

Trump’s tweet was referring to a change to South African policy under debate in its parliament that would allow the government to seize land without compensation. It is a change to the policy implemented at the end of apartheid in 1994 that allows the government to buy white-owned farms for redistribution to black citizens when the seller is willing to cooperate, Reuters reported.

Mandela said the initiative was an attempt to “find a lasting and just solution and we will bring an end to land poverty just as we brought a peaceful end to apartheid.”

“The issue of the return on the land is an extremely sensitive issue as our people were robbed of the land over three centuries of colonial land grabs and six decades of apartheid,” he continued.

The president linked the new policy to the killing of farmers in the nation.

According to Reuters, while violence has been a serious issue in the nation and 47 farmers were killed in 2017 and 2018, it actually marks a 20-year record low for farm murders.

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

“South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past,” the government tweeted.

“South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation,” the government added in a subsequent tweet.

Trump’s direction for Pompeo followed a Tuesday segment on the issue by Carlson who later called South Africa’s response “pure propaganda.”

Carlson told The Hill on Thursday that he was “really grateful” the president brought attention to his report on land seizures in South Africa, despite the country’s pushback. 

“That’s just pure propaganda. It’s totally dishonest. Seeks to divide? If there are South African farm owners who committed fines or stole their land, the land should be taken from them immediately and given to the rightful owners,” Carlson told The Hill. “But that’s not what they’re talking about. They’re proposing to take people’s land away not because these people have committed crimes but because those people are the wrong color.”

But the Anti-Defamation League said Trump’s claim is one often shared by neo-Nazis, racist skinheads and white supremacists.

“It is extremely disturbing that the President of the United States echoed a longstanding and false white supremacist claim that South Africa’s white farmers are targets of large-scale, racially-motivated killings by South Africa’s black majority,” the nongovernmental organization said in a statement on Thursday morning. “White supremacists in the United States have made such claims for years.”

Trump also earned praise for raising the issue from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

“Russia has already agreed to take in 15,000 White South Africans—your move, Mr. President,” Duke tweeted. ”Thank you!”