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    Saturday, 19 August 2017

    Tongaat takes back invaded fields


    CHIREDZI – Tongaat Hullet is making final moves to take over its 4000 hectares of sugar estate invaded by 222 illegal farmers with a recent offer to compensate those who invested something on the plots.
    The move by Tongaat to take back the estate is gaining traction on the back of an order made by President Mugabe during a recent rally in Masvingo that the illegal farmers should move out in line with the bi-lateral agreement between governments and the moral suasion that these farmers cannot reap where they did not sow.
    According to a letter written by the Secretary for Lands and Rural Resettlement, Grace Tsitsi Mutandiro, to the illegal farmers' lawyer Mberi Chimwamurombe Legal Practitioners, Tongaat Hullet is going to harvest the sugarcane on the illegal farms' plots on an average cost and compensation will be based on investments done by the farmers on the crop.
    The letter from the Permanent secretary is dated August 11, 2017.
    Efforts to get a comment from Tongaat Hullet were fruitless.
    The secretary said the affected farmers had settled themselves in Hippo Valley sections 6 and 7 and Triangle sections 12, 13 and 14.
    The affected farmers however, held a meeting on Saturday morning and resolved to reject the compensation. They instead resolved that they should cut down the sugarcane plant and clear the fields for other crops so that they detach themselves completely from Tongaat.
    The farmers who found the sugarcane crop already planted by Tongaat on the pieces of land that they invaded wanted to cut the same crop and sell it to the sugar giant and be paid the proceeds.
     "Further to our communication in the above cited matter, we wish to advise that Tongaat Hullet has reverted to us on your query. They will harvest the cane on an average cost per tonne of $8.15 inclusive of haulage to the mills. Compensation to farmers will be based on categories highlighted to yourselves at our 25 July 2017 meeting. Tongaat Hullet has requested to be furnished with a list of all beneficiaries and the fields allocated to the farmers to facilitate payment and administration" reads part of the letter. 
     "The letter that came from the ministry was flawed and we rejected it since it does not have any legal standing to outline any terms towards us. We have the land that was allocated to us by Government and if they do not want our sugarcane we will remove it and diversify," said a farmer who requested not to be named. 
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