Mugabe ‘cornered’ on Tongaat’s estates

Source: Mugabe ‘cornered’ on Tongaat’s estates – DailyNews Live

11 July 2017

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s decision to stop the expropriation of
Tongaat Hulett (Tongaat)’s sugarcane fields in the Lowveld was influenced
by diplomatic pressure from South Africa’s government, analysts have said.

This comes after hundreds of illegal settlers invaded sugar estates owned
by the Zimbabwe units of South Africa’s Tongaat Hulett.

Mugabe ordered police to remove about 600 families who had moved onto
sugar estates owned by Tongaat’s Hippo Valley Estates and Triangle Sugar
in southern-eastern Zimbabwe.

“Why would you want to take everything from white farmers? Get virgin land
and stop being greedy. Surely, you cannot harvest where you did not sow,”
Mugabe said in an unprecedented warning at a recent youth interface rally
in Masvingo.

Economic analyst Francis Mukora said Mugabe – who has sanctioned the
invasion of more than 4 000 white-owned farms since 2000 – was pressured
by the South African government to protect its companies in the country.

“Mugabe cannot afford to upset the South African government which has
helped to prop up his regime,” Mukora said.

Tongaat and other South African companies such as Zimplats, Mimosa and
Unki mines operating in Zimbabwe are protected by bilateral trade
agreements between the two countries.

However, the sugar producer has been a target of land invasions by Zanu PF
heavyweights who wanted to annex part of the company’s 4 000 hectares of
land.

Seasoned economist John Robertson said Mugabe’s policy inconsistencies did
not bode well for the economy.

“There’s nothing new on the Tongaat issue. This has been the case with
Mugabe since well before independence when those who pleased him got
favours while those who crossed his path were punished,” he said.

Robertson said the Zanu PF leader still believes that some people deserve
more protection than others, especially those who have earned his
patronage.

“However, this destabilises investors as they are not sure what will
happen to their investment when they accidentally annoy him,” added
Robertson.

Apart from sugarcane production, Tongaat also produces ethanol from cane
sugar for local consumption as well as stock feed. It employs over 10 000
people.

The company, which started its operations in KwaZulu-Natal, also has
presence in Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

COMMENTS

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    Ndonga 5 years ago

    ““Why would you want to take everything from white farmers? Get virgin land and stop being greedy. Surely, you cannot harvest where you did not sow,” Mugabe said in an unprecedented warning at a recent youth interface rally in Masvingo”.

    I had to read this part twice…has Mugabe suddenly become honest in his dotage? He and his cronies have been reaping without sowing since 1980, along with murdering many of our people, and in the process making beggars of most Zimbabweans.