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    Sunday, 17 June 2018

    Tongaaat land gone for good – Perrance Shiri



    MORRIS BISHI
    CHIREDZI BUREAU

    CHIREDZI – Government is not going to return the 4 000 hectares taken away from Tongaat Hullet sugarcane estate and parceled to new farmers despite the risk of the loss of 2 000 jobs, the Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement Perrance Shiri has said.
    Shiri sais this when he addressed hundreds of party supporters gathered at Batanai Primary School in Ward 28, Triangle where he was drumming up support for the party's candidate  Musikavanhu.
    Shiri however, said Tongaat will not be allowed to retrench the workers and proposed that instead the company will be given new and virgin land to develop new sugarcane fields as a way of compensation. He said new irrigable land will be opened up since Tokwe Mukorsi Dam is now complete.
    Tongaat made numerous appeals to Government to reverse the land takeover which saw 213 farmers being parcelled out land two years ago. The matter has spilled into the courts and meanwhile the farmers last year harvested and benefitted from  a sugarcane crop planted by Tongaat.
    There have been allegations that Musikavanhu who is a former agricultural director at Tongaat has an axe to grind with Tongaat and he is on a mission to see to it that the company is stripped of all its sugarcane fields.
    The Zimbabwe Sugarcane Milling Workers Union (ZISMIWU) which has a membership of some 17 000 workers is angry with the seizure of the land because of the consequences to the jobs. Recently the union issued a statement and said that it was worried by a possible Musikavanhu victory in the elections as this would spell doom for the workers.
     "The purpose of going to war was to regain our land so there is no need to remove all those who are already resettled. Farmers who were recently given land in Triangle and Hippo Valley will not be removed and the company should not retrench workers as Government is looking at ways of compensating Tongaat with another land where they can develop plantations. If Government decides to move people it will move them to a better place like Masangula Ranch where the land will be irrigated by water from Tokwe Mukorsi Dam" said Shiri.
    However, sources who attended a briefing before the rally said Shiri indicated that it was premature to talk about the issues of land before elections and such issues will be dealt with after the 30 July harmonized elections. 
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