US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: Land expropriation would be ‘disastrous’ for SA

Image credit: Twitter/Secretary Pompeo

The United States (US) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has voiced his country’s opposition to South Africa’s proposed land expropriation without compensation policy, according to a Bloomberg report.

Speaking to reporters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday, Pompeo said the planned policy would be “disastrous” for South Africa’s economy.

He said, “South Africa is debating an amendment to permit the expropriation of private property without compensation. That would be disastrous for that economy, and most importantly for the South African people.”

‘Respect for property rights’

He said for African economies to succeed, they require “strong rule of law, respect for property rights, regulation that encourages investment.”

Pompeo said land expropriation is similar to the centralised planning policies that have failed in countries such as Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

The African National Congress (ANC) adopted the policy at its 54th national conference held at the Nasrec Expo in Johannesburg in 2017.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has also strongly pushed for it. Parliament recently extended the deadline for written submissions to the land expropriation bill to 29 February.

SA-US row

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also ANC President, has often said the bill will outline the circumstances under which land expropriation without compensation would be permissible.

The South African government has not yet reacted to Pompeo’s comments. However, the two countries have previously differed over the matter.

In August 2018, US President Donald Trump tweeted that he had instructed his Secretary of State to “closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers.”

In a subsequent trip to the US in September 2018, Ramaphosa told Bloomberg TV news channel that Trump had been “clearly misinformed.”

He said, “There are no killings of farmers or white farmers in South Africa. There’s no land grab in South Africa. We are involved in a process of discussing land reform.”

Addressing a government event in Ha-Matsila village in Limpopo in August 2018, Ramaphosa also said Trump should stay out of South Africa’s affairs.

According to an SABC News report, he said, “I don’t know what Donald Trump has to do with South African land because he has never been here and he must keep his America. We will keep our South Africa; that is what he must do. South Africa is our land.”

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