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Rand sinks after Trump questions land confiscation from white farmers in South Africa

Rand sinks after Trump questions land confiscation from white farmers in South Africa
The South African rand slumped almost two percent on Thursday, following US President Donald Trump’s tweet about the country's land reforms. Trump's comment raised fears about the possibility of US economic sanctions.

The currency fell to 14.43 per dollar after the Trump's tweet before recovering to 14.22 per dollar during afternoon trading in Johannesburg.

Trump tweeted late on Wednesday that he would ask Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations.”

The South African government hit back, tweeting that it “totally rejects this narrow perception, which only seeks to divide our nation.”

State broadcaster SABC said President Cyril Ramaphosa would seek clarification from the US embassy. Ramaphosa said on August 1 that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was forging ahead with plans to change the constitution in order to allow the expropriation of land without compensation.

There has been a reported rise in violent attacks against farmers in South Africa. There were 74 farm murders and 638 attacks, primarily against white farmers, in 2016-17, according to data by minority rights group AfriForum.

South Africa’s white farmers have been desperately trying to sell their lands at record pace ahead of planned government land seizures, according to a local farmer’s union. However, because of government plans to confiscate the land, there are no buyers.

The South African officials have reportedly seized two farms this week from owners who refused to accept the government-set compensation.

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