Home » Governance » Mahofa Slams Tongaat Hullet

Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Senator Shuvai Mahofa has slammed Lowveld sugar producer Tongaat Hulett for deliberately dragging its feet in complying with indigenisation and empowerment laws to the detriment of thousands of landless people in the province.

This comes as the firm has been accused of shifting goalposts on a commitment to cede about 4 000 hectares of developed cane fields to landless indigenous people.

The cane fields were supposed to be allocated to about 138 model A2 farmers issued with offer letters by the Government in 2012 and all traditional leaders in the province who do not own farms.

Sen Mahofa said this week that Tongaat Hulett was acting in bad faith by repeatedly reneging on a promise to cede part of its land to resettle the landless.

“We are not happy at all with the attitude of Tongaat Hulett management who keep on dragging their feet in implementing what we would have agreed as a province, especially on the issue of surrendering part of their cane fields for resettling landless people,” she said.

“What we find strange from Tongaat Hulett’s attitude is the fact that the company has also failed to effect any meaningful development on virgin land which they undertook to develop for people who are in possession of offer letters.”

Sen Mahofa said less than 30 percent of land that Tongaat has earmarked for developing new cane plots for indigenous farmers was arable.

“Tongaat is not acting in good faith at all because most of the land which they purport to be developing for new farmers with offer letters is rocky and unsuitable for farming,” she said.

Sen Mahofa said the Masvingo provincial leadership will press ahead with plans to acquire part of Tongaat Hulett’s cane plantations for allocation to indigenous farmers with offer letters.

She said they were still waiting for the green light to take over the cane fields from the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Dr Douglas Mombeshora.

The Masvingo provincial lands committee recently resolved to acquire 4 000 hectares of Tongaat Hulett-owned cane fields for distribution to prospective new A2 farmers issued with offer letters about three years ago.

This was after Tongaat was accused of deliberately delaying the rollout of its $20 million phase one of the Kilimanjaro project under which the sugar producer undertook to embark on a phased development of virgin land into cane plots for landless people in Masvingo.

Source : The Herald