Ramaphosa's government delivers mature response to Trump‚ says analyst Fikeni

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

Political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni has applauded Pretoria’s reaction to the Trump tweet‚ saying it was the “most mature response”.

“When you are dealing with sensitive matters you don’t want to inflame them‚ stick to facts and pretend there was a misunderstanding – they on the other side might say it was misunderstood and it works to your favour if you are a country which seems to be measured and understand the policy issues‚ and the timing‚ therefore‚” he said.

SA’s presidency said earlier on Thursday that it had noted Trump’s tweet‚ "which is misinformed in our view"‚ but said the matter would be taken up through diplomatic channels.

"To this end the presidency will request the minister of the department of international relations and co-operation to obtain clarification from the US ambassador‚" said Khusela Diko‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokeswoman.

Lindiwe Sisulu is the current minister.

Fikeni said Trump’s antics were aimed at deflecting attention from his own internal woes in light of the scandals that have characterised his presidency.

On Tuesday‚ Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted on bank and tax fraud charges at the same time his longtime lawyer and advisor Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felonies.

However‚ the deflection attempts did not make Trump’s commentary on the land issues in SA any less dangerous‚ according to Fikeni.

The US is SA’s third largest trading partner after China and Germany.

“Donald Trump is facing a myriad of the challenges at home that may impact his party’s performance in the midterms. Often leaders create external enemies – for deflection purposes. He looked for enemies in Iran‚ Asia‚ Mexico so that the focus is on those melodramatic moments. The US being a superpower is not to be ignored even‚ when its leader is unpredictable and also that he does not have a nuanced understanding of global issues‚ that makes him more dangerous‚” he said.

Meanwhile‚ Solidarity which warned earlier this month that the country’s land expropriation policy would lead to fallout over Agoa‚ said it would watch with keen interest the outcomes of the investigation by Trump’s administration.

The trade union said SA would no longer be eligible for Agoa if expropriation threatens property rights.

Solidarity’s deputy general secretary Marius Croucamp said they were not shocked by the sentiments expressed by Trump because similar concerns over Agoa eligibility were expressed by US diplomats they met with a few months ago.

“We met with diplomats of the US on steel tariff issues‚ they told us that the concern was that property rights should be upheld. The land issue has intensified since then….. The issue of farm murders and property rights is something we have been concerned about‚ we will see what comes out of the American investigation. It’s alarming‚” he said.

South Africans came out guns blazing on Twitter after US president Donald Trump sent out a tweet early on Thursday August 23 2018 claiming that white farmers were being murdered for their land in South Africa.

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