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Trump Wants Pompeo To Study ‘Killing Of Farmers’ In South Africa

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Trump Wants Pompeo To Study 'Killing Of Farmers' In South Africa

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to study South African “land and farm seizures” and “killing of farmers”, prompting Pretoria to accuse Trump of stoking racial divisions.

Trump’s comments have inflamed an already high-octane debate over land in South Africa, a country that remains deeply racially divided and unequal nearly a quarter of a century after Nelson Mandela swept to power at the end of apartheid.

The rand currency dropped more than 1.5 percent against the U.S. dollar in early trade on Thursday after Trump’s tweet had circulated in South Africa.

“I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and large scale killing of farmers,” Trump said on Twitter.

South Africa’s foreign ministry will seek clarification of Trump’s comments from the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokeswoman said, adding that Trump was “misinformed”.

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“South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past,” a tweet from South Africa’s official government account said in response to Trump’s comments.

The U.S. State Department was not immediately available for comment on Trump’s tweet.

Ramaphosa announced on Aug. 1 that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation, as whites still own most of South Africa’s land.

Ramaphosa has said any land reform will be conducted without an impact on economic growth or food security. No land has been “seized” since the reform plans were announced, the ANC says.

VIOLENT CRIME

Trump’s tweet appeared to be a response to a Fox News report on Wednesday that focused on South Africa’s land issue and murders of white farmers.

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Violent crime is a serious problem across South Africa and 47 farmers were killed in 2017-28, according to statistics from AgriSA, an association of agricultural associations. However, farm murders are at a 20-year low.

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, the ANC has followed a “willing-seller, willing-buyer” model under which the government buys white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks.

Progress has been slow and most South Africans believe something has to be done to accelerate change, providing it does not hurt the economy or stoke unrest.

“Reforming the land distribution and ownership will be good for South Africa,” said political analyst Nic Borain.

“That there will be instability and worries about property rights is inevitable, but we don’t expect that the government will act in a way that radically destabilizes investor security.”

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Trump’s tweet came days after it was announced that his wife, Melania, would travel to Africa in October for her first major solo international trip as first lady.

In January, South Africa protested to the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria about reported remarks by Trump that some immigrants from Africa and Haiti came from “shithole” countries.

South Africa’s foreign ministry called the remarks, which sources said Trump made during a meeting on immigration legislation, “crude and offensive” and said Trump’s subsequent denial was not categorical.

AfriForum, an organization that mostly represents white South Africans who have described land expropriation as “catastrophic”, traveled to the United States earlier this year to lobby the Senate and other officials.

African News

Zimbabwe: Government, Civil Servants Agree Salary Deal

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Zimbabwe: Government, Civil Servants Agree Salary Deal

Zimbabwe government and civil servants have finally agreed to a salary accord after the government increased its offer to four hundred million dollars, up by fifty million.

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This means government workers and civil servants will each receive an increment of a hundred twenty-nine dollars effective on April the first.

Negotiations for a further salary review, possibly in June, will continue with consideration of other non-monetary incentives.

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Apex council chairperson, Cecilia Alexander, says the welfare negotiations will continue until the welfare of civil servants improved.

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Niger’s Top Court Outlaws ‘Fifth Wife’ Sex-Slave Maids

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Niger's Top Court Outlaws 'Fifth Wife' Sex-Slave Maids

Niger’s top court has outlawed the practice of keeping women as maids and sex slaves known as “fifth wives.”  This ends a decade-long legal battle by one victim that lawyers say could inspire others in the West African nation to seek justice.

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UK-based anti-slavery international, says the “fifth wife” custom, also known as “wahaya,” is when, in addition to the four wives permitted by Islam, rich men take on other, unofficial wives who live as domestic and sexual slaves.

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Thomson-Reuters Foundation says a Nigerien court had initially ruled in favor of the victim’s master, but she appealed the decision.  Last month, the Niger court of appeals ruled that her first marriage was never valid and that all “fifth wife” marriages are illegal.

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Gunmen Abduct Student Football Team In Cameroon

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Gunmen Abduct Student Football Team In Cameroon

Gunmen have abducted twenty University of Buea male football team members in Cameroon’s southwest. A report says university Vice-Chancellor, Ngono Horace Manga, has confirmed the incident.

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The Vice-Chancellor is quoted as saying armed men stormed the university’s football ground and ordered the players who were training for an upcoming competition to leave with them.

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Manga also said the kidnappers contacted university authorities and demanded a ransom.  He did not disclose the amount for which they were asking.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

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