‘Govt is properly communicating its message on land with the world’

Eyewitness News asked Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane how well she felt South Africa is managing its messaging on the land question, particularly abroad.

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has denied that the government is on the back foot when it comes to keeping foreign countries informed about South Africa's land reform plans.

Mokonyane was responding to questions about US President Donald Trump's tweet on Thursday in which he says he's tasked his secretary of state to look into “land and farm seizures and expropriation and the large-scale killing of farmers”.

His tweet was based on incorrect information broadcast by America's Fox News television channel.

Eyewitness News asked Mokonyane how well she felt South Africa is managing its messaging on the land question, particularly abroad.

“Our foreign missions on any issue that is a concluded policy or processes that are underway to deal with policy in government, they are forever on board through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

“But also Brand SA then looks at investments, and looks at informing communities where we have a footprint, as well as reaching out beyond what government is able to do.”

She says many countries have given South Africa the space to resolve the issue and to keep them updated on developments. While she called Trump’s tweet unfortunate, she says it won’t affect South Africa’s relations with the United States.

“For now, we’ve not fallen out with anyone. What we seek to do is to make sure that everybody understands what is the intention of the South African people - led, of course, by the South African government.”

WATCH: ‘South Africa begins seizing land from white farmers’

PRELIMINARY REPORT ON LAND HEARINGS

Mokonyane says the feedback from South Africans during Parliament's land hearings affirms the inequality in the country.

She was commenting on a preliminary report tabled in Parliament this week that showed that so far more submissions have been received that oppose the amendment of Section 25 to allow for expropriation without compensation.

This, she says, could be attributed to the difficulties faced by poor and disenfranchised communities who don't have access to email and information.

Cabinet has commended South Africans for coming out in their numbers to make submissions at the land hearings.

But Mokonyane says this week’s revelation that more submissions are opposed to expropriation is only the findings of a preliminary report.

“And if we really have to deal with such a delicate matter, we must also listen to the voice of the disenfranchised who are not on Twitter, can’t get through the internet, who can’t actually read and write but can speak for themselves.”

She says President Cyril Ramaphosa has also appointed Deputy President David Mabuza to head an inter-ministerial committee to accelerate the redistribution of land and redress of spatial inequality.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)