africa Agriculture Mozambique sugar

Tongaat Hullet to quit Mafambisse sugar mill in Sofala, Mozambique

The South African company Tongaat Hullet has verbally told the Mozambican government and workers at the Mafambisse sugar mill in central Mozambique that it is going to cease activities in the region, the union secretary at the plant told Lusa on Friday.

Antonio Bassopa, secretary of the trade union committee at the mill, said that members of the administration had reported that Tongaat Hullet was experiencing financial difficulties that rendered continuing operations there unfeasible. The company’s representatives said that Mafambisse is “running losses, they can no longer stay here,” Bassopa said. The company, located in Sofala province, has halted the cultivation of sugarcane for the production of sugar in 2020 and is now working with raw material produced in 2018, he added.

“So far, salaries have been paid regularly, but it looks like they want to finish this year’s sugarcane and get out of here,” he said.

The meeting with representatives of Tongaat Hullet took place at the office of the Dondo administrator, the district in which the mill is located, and was convened following pressure from the workers. “We realised that sugarcane equipment was being decommissioned and that factory managers were removing personal property from their factory residences,” the union committee secretary said. Bassopa reported Tongaat Hullet as saying it would maintain operations at its Xinavane plant, in Maputo province, southern Mozambique, the country’s largest sugar mill.

Bassopa said that Tongaat’s withdrawal meant an uncertain future for the approximately 3,500 workers there, unless a new investor was found. The Mafambisse sugar mill is 85% owned by Tongaat and 15% by the Mozambican state through the State Shareholdings Management Institute (IGEPE), Lusa has been unable to secure comment from either Tongaat Hullet or the Mozambican government on the situation at Mafambisse.

Source: Lusa via Club of Mozambique

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