CHIREDZI, MASVINGO —
Temperatures are rising in Masvingo Province where Zanu PF supporters with offer letters to own sugarcane plots are calling for the immediate closure of Tongaat Hullet, the country’s sole sugar producer in Chiredzi, for failing to allocate them promised pieces of land amid reports that some senior Zanu PF officials are fighting to take over the South African sugar milling giant.
At least 200 Zanu PF supporters, who earlier this year were issued with offer letters to enter into the lucrative sugar production business, are growing impatient with Tongaat Hullet, which is allegedly backtracking on an earlier agreement to allocate them pieces of land.
Tongaat Hulett is said to have promised to clear about 4,000 hectares of land to allocate to the new farmers following threats from some Zanu PF supporters to take over some of its cane fields.
Speaking on behalf of the new farmers, Albert Matambo told VOA Studio 7 they are prepared to take the law into their own hands and close the sugar milling giant if it does not start allocating the cane plots.
Chiredzi East legislator Abraham Sithole, the chairman of the Cane Farmers Association, has already given the company an ultimatum to honour its promise.
Mr. Sithole wants the government to intervene immediately to avoid action he said could be regrettable.
It also emerged yesterday that Zanu PF bigwigs are fighting to take over the sugar company, which according to Indegenisation Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, has failed to comply with the country’s black empowerment laws.
Two Zanu PF factions, one allegedly led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other by Vice President Joice Mujuru have been dragged into the issue.
Tongaat Hullet chief executive officer Sydney Mutsambiwa refused to comment, preferring to receive written questions in advance.
Experts warn the closure of the company will lead to massive job losses in addition to serious sugar shortages in the country.