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    Sunday, 14 January 2018

    Tongaat retrenches 400 as land seizures bite

    • Hundreds more face the axe


    CHIREDZI - Tongaat Hulett has terminated contracts of more than 400 workers who had no work to do at Hippo Valley in Chiredzi after the Government of former President Mugabe seized 4 000hectares of the company's sugar estates which were then parcelled out to indigenous farmers.
    Authoritative sources told The Mirror that the contracts of the workers who were supposed to work for seven months were prematurely terminated on December 31, 2017 because they was no work to do after large tracts of Tongaat land were taken over by Government. The termination comes barely a month after Tongaat failed to pay its workers a 13th cheque in many years.
    There are fears that more workers are going to lose their jobs as a result of the designated estate.
    Tongaat Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager Adelaide Chikunguru declined to comment on the matter.
    However, former Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers Union (ZISMIWU) president, Freedom Madungwe confirmed the development and said more retrenchments are in evitable unless Government intervenes immediately.
    "The contract workers in Section 6 and 7 were supposed to work for 7 months but their contracts were prematurely terminated on December 31, 2017.
     "On December 28, contract workers were informed that their contracts were being terminated prematurely. This affected those working in section 6 and 7 which were taken over by new farmers. More workers could soon find themselves in the same situation," said Madungwe.
    He said the affected workers belong to various unions whose leadership are ironically calling for the nationalization of Tongaat Hullet.
    The retrenchments are taking place at a time when newly inaugurated President Mnangagwa is calling for foreign and local investments by local and international companies in order to create jobs for millions of Zimbabwe's unemployed youth.
    The designation of Tongaat's estates is considered illegal after it was realized that Tongaat is a South African company protected under the Bilateral Investment Protection Policy Agreement (BIPPA) the Government made a pledge to reverse the land seizure after South African President, Jacob Zuma made an appeal to former President Robert Mugabe.
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