Ton­gaat Hulett suf­fers Zim land in­va­sions

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

MASVINGO: Zim­bab­wean Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe has warned land in­vaders against tar­get­ing South Africanowned Ton­gaat Hulett su­gar plan­ta­tions.

Mu­gabe’s warn­ing comes amid com­plaints from the com­pany that some vil­lagers, sup­ported by a group of war vet­er­ans and Zanu-PF lead­ers, were tar­get­ing its plan­ta­tions in the Lowveld.

“Surely, you can­not har­vest where you did not sow,” Mu­gabe said in an un­prece­dented warn­ing in Masvingo prov­ince.

“We gave you the land. So make full use of it or seek skills from those with the know-how.”

Mu­gabe has con­vened a meet­ing with lo­cal Zanu-PF politi­cians, war vet­er­ans and tra­di­tional lead­ers to avert any pos­si­bil­ity of in­vad­ing Ton­gaat Hulett sug­ar­cane plan­ta­tions in the Lowveld.

Speak­ing in the ver­nac­u­lar Shona, Mu­gabe lashed out at the land grab­bers, ar­gu­ing they should in­vest in the land that is cur­rently in their pos­ses­sion and grow their own crops in­stead of in­vad­ing farm­lands that have al­ready been tilled by Ton­gaat Hulett.

Ton­gaat Hulett, which also spon­sors a lo­cal pre­mier league foot­ball team, owns vast tracts of land in the Lowveld of Chiredzi and Mwenezi dis­tricts.

Most of its plan­ta­tions are lo­cated in Chiredzi’s Hippo Val­ley es­tates, Mk­wa­sine, Mwenezi and Tri­an­gle, where more than 10 000 peo­ple are em­ployed.

Apart from sug­ar­cane pro­duc­tion, Ton­gaat Hulett also pro­duces ethanol fuel from cane su­gar for lo­cal con­sump­tion as well as stock-feed.

The com­pany also has a pres­ence in Botswana, Mozam­bique, Namibia, South Africa and Swazi­land.

Ton­gaat Hulett has been the tar­get of land-grab­bers in the past.

Mu­gabe’s warn­ing is a shift from his stance against land own­er­ship by for­eign na­tion­als and com­pa­nies.

Over the years, since 2000, he has sanc­tioned the invasion of white-owned farms, a devel­op­ment blamed for inces­sant hunger in the South­ern African coun­try, which was formerly an ex­porter of food. – CAJ News

TOUGH TALK: Zim­babwe’s Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe

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