Villagers occupy Hulett's Zim lands

Harare - The Zimbabwean police this week reportedly arrested 169 people who had illegally occupied sugar cane land belonging to Tongaat Hulett-owned Hippo Valley and Triangle estates.

According to The Herald newspaper, over 600 villagers had occupied the land demanding that government allocate them land.

The paper quoted Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora as saying that the government would not allow them to remain on the estates a day longer.
 
The police officer commanding Masvingo, Senior Assistant Commissioner Martha Mofolo, confirmed the arrests.
 
“The matter is being dealt with appropriately by authorities and operations are continuing as normal,’’ said corporate affairs and communications manager Adelaide Chikunguru-Musvovi.

Mombeshora said government had yet to draw up a policy on acquisition of plantations for resettlement.

Occupation of the estates came after a week of tensions between villagers, led by war veterans and the Masvingo provincial leadership over failure to allocate sugar cane plots to 143 people who were issued with offer letters in December 2012.

Tongaat Hulett, however, told The Herald that its operations were not disrupted by the occupations.

The company has had running battles with villagers and previous empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere over its indigenisation status.

Tongaat Hulett is also under fire for allegedly dragging its feet on a pledge to develop 4 000 hectares of virgin land in Chiredzi to resettle those issued with offer letters.

 - Fin24
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