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    Saturday, 8 July 2017

    Leave Tongaat land alone – Mugabe tells new farmers



    SYDNEY MUBAIWA

    MASVINGO – President Mugabe has ordered farmers who have occupied part of Tongaat Hulett sugar cane estates in Chiredzi and harvested its crop for sale to stop interfering with the company's operations as Tongaat is immensely contributing to Government programmes and the economic well-being of Masvingo.
    Speaking at a youth interface rally held at Mucheke Stadium in the provincial capital on Saturday, Mugabe deplored some Zimbabweans for laziness and wanting to harvest where they did not sow. He urged new farmers to work instead of just grabbing what other people have worked for.
    His statement was in apparent reference to 213 farmers allocated land in the 6 390 hectare Tongaat estate and have refused to move despite the withdrawal of their offer letters by the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Douglas Mombeshora.
    The farmers who have been receiving heavy backing from the Minister of State for Masvingo, Shuvai Ben Mahofa took Government to the High Court in a bid to stay put at the plots.
    He said Tongaat was working in tandem with Government on various economic projects and hailed it for supporting the empowerment drive.
     "I wonder why you want to interfere with Tongaat's operations. Is sugar so sweet that our people would start making arguments over it?  We do not want people who are greedy to the extent of just taking over other people's properties. We don't want you to take other people's produce and enjoy it while you do nothing to uplift yourselves", Mugabe said.
    Tongaat property cannot be grabbed under Government's economic empowerment   programmes because the company which is South African is protected under the Bilateral Agreements between the two countries and the issue was raised with Mugabe by South African President Jacob Zuma.
    Mugabe also took a dig at farmers and local chiefs who sublet their farms to white farmers.
    "Stop re-distributing your farms to whites, we didn't allocate them for that purpose.  You should realize that by so doing, you will be giving our land back to the whites.
    "Our chiefs are also doing the same.  They must shun away from that. When we gave you the land we didn't say rent it to white farmers.  Instead, you should give it to our children who are leaving colleges with agricultural skills or give them back to us if you feel you can't find locals to share the land with", Mugabe said.
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