South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday said there was no reason any country would impose sanctions on his country over the government’s plans to redistribute land to address racial disparities in ownership.
The president announced in July that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) had plans to change the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. The move elicited a backlash from the majority white land owners, also prompting reaction from foreign leaders.
Through his official Twitter handle, US President Donald Trump last month reacted to Ramaphosa’s announcement, asking his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to study South African “land and farm seizures”.
There have since been speculations that Trump’s administration would impose sanctions on South Africa to express its disapproval with the planned land reform agenda.
“We have no reason to believe that any country would impose sanctions on South Africa for any actions that we take, actions that are constitutional, that are lawful and consistent with international law,” Ramaphosa said in a parliament address.
The land expropriation without compensation campaign has for years been pushed forward by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, led by fiery leader Julius Malema.
Malema has publicly said the whites stole the land from the black citizens during the colonial era, and that the issue needed to be addressed soon, without burdening the poor black majority.
In his parliament address, President Ramaphosa also said that the government was ready to discuss its land reform plans with any country. He repeated that land reform would follow a parliamentary process and that the government would not tolerate “land grabs”.