Expropriation without compensation: Fact-checking Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump
23 August 2018
Tucker Carlson, one of the biggest and most influential conservative television hosts in the United States, told his millions of viewers on Wednesday night that President Cyril Ramaphosa was "a racist", that former US president Barack Obama was "a coward" and that the South African Constitution had been changed to enable the seizure of white land.
Shortly after the broadcast, President Donald Trump tweeted that he has instructed the State Department to look at "farm and land seizures and large-scale killing of farmers". It is well known that Trump is an avid viewer of Fox News and often tweets after watching programmes on the channel.
During the insert of more than six minutes, Carlson lambasted the State Department, panning their official reaction to a query from his show and asked why his country's government said nothing about South Africa's amendment to its Constitution (there has been no amendment to the Constitution).
Carlson also interviewed Marian Tupy, an analyst at the Cato Institute, a think tank in Washington.
Earlier this year, AfriForum's Kallie Kriel and Ernst Roets both visited the Cato Institute, while Roets was interviewed on Carlson's show. During the interview, Roets said a motion was carried in Parliament to change the Constitution, while in actual fact, that did not happen.
He backpedalled later in the interview and said there was an ongoing parliamentary process but did not correct Carlson's false statements.
During Wednesday's broadcast, Carlson started by declaring that Ramaphosa "started seizing land from his own citizens without compensation because they are the wrong skin colour".
However, no farms have been seized and no expropriation without compensation has taken place since the start of the national debate about land reform.
Carlson also unloaded on the State Department's official comment that South Africa had a "strong democracy" and that an open process was taking place. He criticised them because they said nothing about the constitutional amendment which allowed the "stealing" of land based on racist reasons. There has however, been no amendment to South Africa's Constitution.
Tupy, who according to his profile on the Cato Institute's website, studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, told Carlson that "in a civilised society", people don't take other people's "stuff" and continued to compare current events to what happened in Zimbabwe 20 years ago.
He told viewers that Zimbabwe's Zanu PF was facing electoral defeat 18 years ago and that then-president Robert Mugabe decided to scapegoat farmers and expropriate land. This led to economic collapse and hunger.
Carlson then asked Tupy how the US should respond to what was unfolding in South Africa. The discussion was then that the country's government should be reminded of its obligations under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
"The US government should denounce the policy as immoral because it targets a specific group of people. If the South African government does not respect property rights and due process, if it changes the Constitution to legalise the theft of property it will be kicked out (from the AGOA)…"
Carlson, whose interview with Roets was widely shared and strongly punted by AfriForum, proceeded to call Ramaphosa "a racist" and asked why Obama would praise him.
According to Tupy, many people believe that Ramaphosa is merely trying to appease a faction of the ANC with statements about expropriation, but says Obama should tell Ramaphosa "to behave in accordance of normal rules".
The Fox News interviewer concluded the segment by saying Obama didn't say it to Ramaphosa when he had the chance earlier because "he's a coward".