HARARE May 22 Hundreds of illegal settlers
invaded sugar estates owned by the Zimbabwe units of South
Africa's Tongaat Hullett this week, but production was
not affected, government and company officials said on Thursday.
Lands and Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora said
police were removing about 600 families who had moved onto sugar
estates owned by Tongaat's Hippo Valley Estates and
Triangle Sugar in southern Zimbabwe.
"We do not allow that. This is why police have moved in
quickly to put an end to the invasions," Mombeshora told
The southern African country made world headlines in 2000
when thousands of invaders occupied white-owned farms with the
blessing of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, leading to
a collapse of commercial agriculture.
A spokeswoman for the two Tongaat estates, Adelaide
Chikunguru-Musvovi said "the matter is being dealt with
appropriately by authorities and operations are continuing as
Triangle is wholly-owned by Tongaat, which also has a 50.3
percent stake in Hippo Valley.
The two estates' sugar mills have a combined milling
capacity to crush nearly 5 million tonnes of cane annually and
produce over 640,000 tonnes of sugar. Their refining capacity is
140,000 tonnes per annum.
In October 2012, the government gave Hippo Valley and
Triangle two weeks to submit a plan detailing how the companies
planned to sell 51 percent of their shares to locals under
Mugabe's black empowerment drive, or face forcible seizure.
The government has not followed through on the ultimatum.
Tongaat's estates in Zimbabwe have contracted about 700
black farmers who supplied 850,000 tonnes of cane in the half
year to September 2013. Plans are underway to contract another
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Stella