Mokonyane: Trump's tweet unfortunate but hasn’t affected SA-US relations

In a tweet earlier on Thursday, Trump said he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to 'closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large-scale killing of farmers'.

FILE: Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says that US President Donald Trump’s tweet was “unfortunate”.

But she says it has not determined South Africa’s approach to its relations with the United States and will be dealt with through diplomatic channels.

Mokonyane was responding to questions while briefing on the outcomes of Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting at Parliament.

In a tweet earlier on Thursday, Trump said he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large-scale killing of farmers”.

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

Mokonyane says the government is concerned.

In his tweet, Trump tagged Fox News and show host Tucker Carlson, who had told viewers South Africa had already changed its Constitution and that land was now being seized from white farmers.

Mokonyane told Eyewitness News: “It is unfortunate that he [Trump] could react on the basis of what Fox News said when we have diplomatic relations and channels of communication.”

Mokonyane says the matter will now be taken up with the United States government.

She told the briefing that Trump’s tweet has not affected South Africa’s relations with the US.

“The tweet has not determined our approach to the United States on our current and future relationships. We do believe that once there are these kinds of concerns, surely, there should be the relevant channels of communication that should actually have been used.”

SA TO USE DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS WITH US

The government has questioned why Trump repeated incorrect information about land reform and farm murders without first checking his facts or going through the proper channels.

Mokonyane says South Africa will be taking the matter up with the United States government through diplomatic channels.

“Up until we are able, through our diplomatic channels, to get exactly the reason behind [the tweet] and of course, one of the things was, it was in response to what Fox [News] TV has said.”

Mokonyane suggested Trump should have raised his concerns through the proper channels before weighing in on the debate with incorrect information.

“I am sure, for any self-respecting nation, you would want to verify and get facts and so forth… and that’s the issue that through International Relations [Department] we will have to continue clarifying.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)