Tongaat Hulett mum on land grab

HARARE - South Africa-based Tongaat Hulett (Tongaat) has declined to comment on the compulsory acquisition of 29 000 hactres of its sugar cane plantations in the Lowveld by Zanu PF, amid fears the land grab may disrupt operations.

According to local media reports, the Zanu PF leadership in Masvingo Province allegedly wants to use the land to resettle landless people in the province.

“...we decline your invitation to comment on the issues,” said Adelaide Chikunguru, the group’s corporate affairs manager in written responses.

The company, which holds a 50,3 percent shareholding in Hippo Valley Estates while it wholly owns Triangle Sugar, was last year threatened by the ruling party as it wanted to take over 6 000 hectares of land owned by the South African sugar giant.

An official from the party accused Tongaat of under-declaring the size of its cane-growing fields.

Tongaat, still to comply with the indigenisation and empowerment regulations set by the government, submitted its compliance plan to government in a bid to meet the stipulations of
the law compelling foreign-owned companies to cede 51 percent equity to blacks.

Although details of the proposed plan remain sketchy, the agro-based concern is said to have
partially complied with the law several months after the government had ordered the company to do so.

Indigenisation was a key promise of Mugabe’s 2013 election campaign, and the party leadership in Masvingo alleges it deserves Tongaat land as promised during election campaign last year.


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