Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

A remark by President Cyril Ramaphosa during an interview on Bloomberg television has led to an angry response in SA. And Ramaphosa's spokesman has stepped in to explain what the president said.

In the interview, Ramaphosa states "‘there are no killings of farmers or white farmers in South Africa", and goes on to say "there's no land grab in SA".

"Both of Mr Ramaphosa’s statements are untrue. Data produced by the South African Police Service shows that 62 farmers and farm workers were murdered in the country in the 2017-2018 financial year,” the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) said of Ramaphosa's remarks.

"IRR analysts have also demonstrated that a simple media scan will offer up examples of violent land and farm invasions across a number of SA’s provinces, including the Free State, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal."

IRR CEO Dr Frans Cronje said: "Mr Ramaphosa’s comments are offensive to the victims of farm murders — black and white — and to the millions of South Africans who live with insecure title to the properties they occupy."

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said Ramaphosa was responding to Donald Trump’s tweet which claimed there were “large scale killings of farmers” and that government was seizing farm land.

“It is very unfortunate that anyone would want to deliberately distort the President’s remarks which were in direct response to ‘large scale killing of farmers’‚ a characterisation everyone knows holds no truth in South Africa.”

This article was edited to add Ramaphosa's response once this was available.