TONGAAT Hulett corporate affairs and communications manager Adelaide Chikunguru has denied allegations carried in last week’s issue of the Zimbabwe Independent that the company has failed to pay for delivered sugarcane worth millions of dollars saying the company has paid out all out-growers.
In a statement, Chikunguru said: “As a consequence of the low price of sugar obtaining on the world market and the recent reduction of the domestic price due to competition from unregulated imports from the region, the realisation of value to the domestic industry has been reduced significantly.
“The sugar industry, which includes farmer associations, agreed on the level of a new price as a consequence of the above factors which formed the basis for payment of all sugarcane deliveries to the mills. All payments to farmers for sugarcane deliveries were effected by 13 December 2013 at full realisable value,” she said.
However, milling industry workers’ union secretary-general Admore Hwarare has threatened legal action against Tongaat Hulett’s Zimbabwe operation Triangle (Pvt) Ltd over the alleged non-payment of delivered sugarcane.
Hwarare told the Independent Tongaat management has agreed to meet with his association to resolve the issue today (Friday) failure of which they would resort to legal action.
“We approached management and agreed to meet today (Wednesday), but one of their member was away so we are meeting them on Friday (today),” Hwarare said. “If we fail to agree, then we will consider legal action so that the out-growers can be paid.”
The union claims close to 600 out-growers that supplied hundreds of tonnes of sugar cane to Tongaat late last year have not received payment, alleging the company said the money covered milling process costs.
Chikunguru has, however, dismissed legal action threats from Hwarare saying her company is yet to meet the workers union.