Fires destroy Border property


Ngoni Chanakira

BORDER Timbers Ltd (Border) yesterday said two significant fires had destroyed 930 hectares at two of its plantations, which could affect the company’s operating capacity

for the next eight years.


Border, a subsidiary of the Radar Holdings Ltd (Radar) group, has a market capitalisation of $55,8 billion on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, while the parent firm stands at $37,4 billion.


Border yesterday published a cautionary statement informing shareholders of the tragedy and its consequences. It did not however, quantify the amounts involved.


“Shareholders are advised that two significant fires have recently occurred on Border Timbers property that will materially affect the operating capacity of the company,” Border said.


“Approximately 230 hectares of plantation were lost at Charter Estate in the first fire which was initiated outside Border property.”


The company said a second fire occurred on Sheba Estate where approximately 700 hectares of plantation had been destroyed.


“This level of destruction will have significant negative effect on the company’s results for the next eight years in view of the age of the timber burnt,” Border said.


“The fires have been extinguished and causes of the fires are yet to be established. The company wishes to extend its appreciation to all involved in assisting with the controlling and extinguishing of the blaze. Shareholders will be advised should there be any further developments.”


Meanwhile, the tiff between Border and government over acquisition of its 20 000 hectares for the controversial fast track land resettlement programme is still unresolved.


Last year, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Joseph Made, listed 20 000 hectares of Border land for acquisition for resettlement purposes.


Border managing director John Gahadzikwa in his statement accompanying his June 30 2002 financial results told shareholders that several shacks had been erected on the company’s land in areas that had been harvested mainly in the Chimanimani Estates.


Gahadzikwa insisted that all incidents were reported to the police, who merely recorded them, but “then did nothing further”.


Border handed the matter over to its lawyers who immediately made objections and appeals to the Administrative Court of Zimbabwe.


Subsequent to year 2002, the Attorney General’s Office withdrew all Section 7 orders, to which the objections had been lodged in the administrative court, conceding that the properties were protected by the German-Zimbabwean Investment Protection Agreement.


Germany is Zimbabwe’s fifth largest trading partner but relations have soured since the land acquisitions began in earnest about two years ago.


“Your company now awaits official notification from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement delisting all Border properties that were originally listed for designation for purposes of resettlement,” Gahadzikwa said.