The last thing SA needs as it takes on the racially charged issue of land redistribution is for US president Donald Trump and assorted white supremacists to wade in with wildly distorted assertions. That, unfortunately, is what it got when Trump tweeted last week that he had asked his secretary of state to look into "farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers". One immediate consequence was a slide in the value of the rand. Another was to further stir the racial tensions awakened by one of the most explosive legacies of apartheid: the unequal distribution of land. According to an official audit, 72% of farms and agricultural holdings in SA are owned by whites and 24% by non-whites. Of the latter, just 4% are black Africans, who make up more than three quarters of the population. These figures are controversial and probably overstate the case. They do, however, reflect a broad reality born of an injustice that began in 1913 with the Natives Land Act. This...

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