Deputy President David Mabuza Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Johannesburg - Deputy President David Mabuza on Thursday slammed ''falsehoods'' that were spreading about South Africa's land reform and the mooted expropriation without compensation, saying the government will work within the confines of the law and the constitution.

Mabuza made his remarks while addressing delegates at the Agri-SA land and agricultural summit held in Bela-Bela, Limpopo. 

He said the governing African National Congress (ANC) was clear that the implementation of its land reform plan should not result in social fractures and racial polarisation. 

Mabuza said the government will not tolerate ''land grabs''.  

''The land reform processes that we are undertaking poses no direct threat to the agriculture sector and the economy as a whole," said Mabuza. 

"Our farmers must continue to work hard, invest in their farms and increase production while extending a hand of collaboration with government to ensure that more and more South Africans enter the sector through organised and systematic access to land for productive use. 
 
''We would like to discourage those who are using this sensitive and emotive issue of land to divide us as South Africans by distorting our land reform measures to the international community, and spreading falsehoods that our ‘white farmers’ are facing the onslaught from their own government. This is far from the truth.''
 
As South Africans grapple with mixed feelings over the amendment of the constitution in order to allow expropriation of land without compensation as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, US Donald Trump on Thursday threw the spanner in the works.

Trump tweeted: "I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large-scale killing of farmers. South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.''

The tweet has caused a stir in South Africa. 

Presidency spokeswoman Khusela Diko condemned Trump and said the tweet was ''misinformed''. 

She said International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu would use appropriate diplomatic channels and seek clarification from the US Embassy.

However, civil rights group Afriforum, whose leaders travelled overseas, including the US, lobbying support against the proposed land reform measures, welcomed Trump's tweet on Thursday. 

The organisation said Trump's tweet has shown that its lobbying in the US has seemingly worked.

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula tweeted and condemned Afriforum's stance on government's land reform plan.

''AfriForum must be held responsible for the false propaganda they are spreading across the world. It not only has reputational damage for our country, but carries economic repercussions. Their misinformation campaign must be met with disdain and rejection.''

African News Agency/ANA