Tongaat sells properties

BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA

CHIREDZI-BASED sugar producer Tongaat Hulett is conducting a voluntary sale of 26 of its commercial, residential and industrial properties worth millions of United States dollars.

Most of the properties, which house big companies and banks are situated in Triangle, with only one in Nyanga.

A catalogue on the Hammer and Tongues website lists properties that the real estate agency has been instructed to sell by Triangle Limited Zimbabwe including, a single storey building used as a banking hall by the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), a building rented by Zuva Gas and Bata Shoe Company, another rented by TM Supermarket, as well as a warehouse.

Although Tongaat Hulett spokesperson Adelaide Chikunguru could not be reached for comment as her phone went unanswered and was yet to respond to questions sent on email at the time of going to print, the Hammer and Tongues website showed that the company was selling a single storey commercial building with the main retail space being used by OK Zimbabwe, a hardware store and a ground floor building comprising of a banking hall rented by ZB Bank.

Other properties on sale include a property that houses Zuva Service Station, situated along the busy Ngundu-Tanganda Highway, which includes a showroom and a kiosk building used as a workshop by Bain Farm Equipment, a building housing Bank ABC and another property that was once a thriving cotton ginnery.

A building rented by Farmware, a residential property that has been converted into a medical centre as well as a beautiful and well-maintained holiday home at the heart of Troutbeck Resort area and several undeveloped industrial stands in Triangle are also going under the hammer.

Chiredzi West legislator Farai Musikavanhu, who is a former director at Tongaat, said he was happy with the development as that would enable the company to focus on its core business of growing and processing sugarcane.

“Since this is a private commercial decision, I naturally do not have the reasons behind the sale. As MP for Chiredzi West constituency, I am, however, happy with this decision by Tongaat Hulett. The properties being sold are all not related to their core business of growing and processing sugarcane.

“It shows that the company wants to focus on its primary activity, which in itself is a vote of confidence for the sugar industry. The decision to dispose of these properties also releases value for the company. The realised revenue can be reinvested in their core operations, which may also include improving the welfare of their employees.

“For those who will buy the properties, this is a welcome opportunity to bring diversity and fresh business prospects to Chiredzi West constituency. Development of open industrial lands will certainly be most welcome as there will be increased employment opportunities in the constituency, with a positive spin-off on our gross domestic product as Chiredzi West. I can only hope that residents of Chiredzi West constituency will be able to participate individually and or in joint ventures in this exciting development,” Musikavanhu said.

However, one employee who requested anonymity said he was afraid that the economic situation could be forcing the company to dispose of its properties, and was quick to say he hoped that Chiredzi would not be a ghost town like other former mining towns dotted around the country.

“I am just praying that the company is not closing shop, otherwise this town will become a ghost town like we witnessed in other towns. I am sure Tongaat is the only biggest private employer left in the country so far with more than 17 000 employees,” he said.

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