via Rautenbach hammers meddlesome Mangoma – NewZimbabwe 22/10/2015
CHISUMBANJE ethanol financier, Billy Rautenbach, has hit out at Elton Mangoma, accusing the politician of trying to sabotage operations at the project by inciting villagers to vandalise company property and destroy sugar cane.
As energy minister during the coalition government, Mangoma led the opposition to a bid to impose mandatory blending of petrol and ethanol to support Rautenbach’s Green Fuel project.
Mangoma now leads the opposition Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) party.
On Thursday, members of the Manicaland Provincial Joint Operations Command and the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs toured the Chisumbanje plant.
Rautenbach told the officials that Mangoma has not given up on his intentions to pull the project down, a campaign he started as energy minister during the inclusive government.
“We had challenges during the inclusive government,” said the financier.
“We were blocked by Mangoma and for two years we could not irrigate or do any meaningful production.
“We could not sell power but we were paying people their salaries until August 2013. Now the factory is running and we are expecting to improve production by next year.”
Rautenbach said individuals who were bent on sabotaging the project during the inclusive government were slowly creeping back in Chisumbanje to incite villagers.
“These are just five or 10 people who want to disturb our operations here,” he said.
“We did not have problems in Chisumbanje and Manapasi but here at Chinyamukwakwa is where we are facing problems. Please help us minister.”
He said after Mangoma visited the area recently to launch his party, company property was vandalised while its sugar cane crop was destroyed.
“Our staff was assaulted, sugar cane destroyed and company property vandalized. I don`t know why he is coming to launch his party here.
“We are business people and we have investors who want to partner us but they get scared when they hear of such developments.
“They don’t release their money,” said Rautenbach, adding, “Political activities has started again here”.
He said if the situation stabilizes, the project was able to raise more money to support local farmers through the creation of employment and out-grower programmes.
“We are not selfish we can raise more money to benefit the locals and the country,” said Rautenbach, adding the plant was running at 50 percent utilization capacity.
The local Chinyamukwakwa villagers have been fighting the Green Fuels, accusing the company of taking their land for sugar cane production without paying them adequate compensation.
They are arguing that the 0, 5 hectare for irrigation projected initiated by the company was not enough to sustain their families and livestock.
Villagers also accused Rautenbach of renegading on a promise to improve their living conditions through funding income generating projects after taking their land.