According to BusinessLIVE US president Donald Trump has called for his Secretary of State to study South African farm seizures and farm killings, according to one of his tweets.
I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018
Responses to this tweet include mentioning that Puerto Rico hasn’t had power in a year, and Flint Michigan still doesn’t have clean water.
According to BusinessLIVE AgriSA reported earlier this year that the farm murder rate had hit a 19 year low.
Trump’s tweet appears to be in response to a report by Tucker Carlson on Fox News about South Africa’s land debate.
“The president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa has begun, and you may have seen this in the press, seizing land from his own citizens without compensation without compensation because they are the wrong skin colour. That is literally the definition of racism.”
Carlson went on to slam the American media and Barrack Obama for not paying attention to this issue despite how quick it is to criticise Trump for racism.
Carlson’s report claimed that the constitution has been changed to make these seizures possible. This is false, the constitution has not been changed and the land that has been listed for seizure has been as a test case as to whether section 25 of the constitution allows it.
Carlson then went to speak to Marian Tupy of the Cato Institute, who recommended that Trump remind South Africa’s government of section 104 of the Agoa agreement – which gives South Africa preferential treatment on certain exports to America – requires that it protect property rights.
According to News24, Ramaphosa has rejected nationalisation of land, and stated, “The intention of the proposed amendment is to strengthen the property rights of all South Africans.”
I am not in favour of expropriation without compensation, I think the end goals of this policy could be better served through a more re distributive tax-and-spend regime, essentially building our economy towards the Scandinavian model.
Going the expropriation route I think runs major risks to our economy, and opens the door to far too much corruption regarding how the program gets set up.
That said it is important to note that Carlson could not report on the South African land issue without including what to me is a basic inaccuracy – claiming the constitution has been changed when it hasn’t.
Carlson calls the state department’s essentially accurate rundown on what Ramaphosa has said on the topic “unbelievable” – well whether something is true or not doesn’t depend on your ability to believe it.
The report thus comes off as standard Fox News scaremongering, which isn’t helped by how it uses the Cato Institute as if it is a neutral authority. The Cato Institute is a think-tank, which is to say basically a PR company for a political cause.
This wouldn’t be a concern to me except Trump appears to believe the report, and that is troubling.
Trump is already known for his hostility towards trade deals – kicking us out of Agoa over land expropriation is a distinct possibility. Whatever you think of him, he is the US president, and that is one of the milder things the US is capable of.
One of the major concerns we must consider with this policy is how the rest of the world reacts to it. We do not exist within a vacuum, and due to our long pursuit of foreign investment – the rest of the world are watching this and wondering what it means for their assets.
That is not a comfortable position to be in.