FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe has demanded that the government reins in sugar producer, Tongaat Hulett to allow the Zanu PF women’s league to take over a part of the company’s Lowveld estate.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
In her address to the women’s league on Thursday, Grace told President Robert Mugabe that the South African company was resisting the women’s league efforts to take over.
“The women’s league was allocated part of the farm that is owned by Tongaat Hulett, but the company has for the last two years been resisting our efforts to take over the farm,” she said.
“They continue to shift goalposts.”
Mugabe’s wife demanded that Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora force Tongaat Hulett to buckle.
“We want the ministry of Lands to rein in the company, so that we are allowed to take over and start producing sugarcane,” she continued.
“The women’s league is in danger of losing two years of sugar production.
“We are also appealing for your (Mugabe’s) intervention so that this issue is resolved.
“The company is claiming that it has to meet a European Union quota, but this is our land. It has nothing to do with the EU.”
Many Zanu PF organs and party members have been eyeing Tongaat Hulett’s land for years, with public fights breaking out over some of the property.
The government issued offer letters to about 300 people to take over a piece of the land owned by Tongaat Hulett.
Mugabe had to hold two meetings with Masvingo provincial leaders over the Tongaat Hulett land, where there were accusations that bigwigs had muscled in and were dishing out the property amongst themselves.
At the time the offer letters were being dished out, there were fears that at least 2 000 workers were going to lose their jobs.
Grace also told the meeting that the women’s league also took over an irrigation project in Matabeleland North and on the eastern fringes of Harare, where she said a school was being run.
“We are producing maize in Matabeleland North and running a school in Goromonzi. We want to build an industrial park, where children will be taught practical skills,” she said.