By Ackel Zwane | 2018-12-20
FOLLOWING reports of evictions of farmers in Vuvulane in which President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions Zingiswa Losi also offered to intervene on behalf of the farmers, the Royal Eswatini Sugar Corporation (RSSC) wants to address what it calls the ‘one-sided story currently being propagated’.
Group Public Affairs Manager Sifiso Nyembe, responding to whether it was true that his organisation was initiating contact with other stakeholders such as the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), said RSSC had invited all stakeholders who wished to engage with it on the Vuvulane issue particularly to address the issue of the one-sided story currently being propagated. “Such engagements can and will be arranged and managed by RSSC and those interested stakeholders to set up dates, etc.”
Losi had claimed to have met with sugar cane farmers from Vuvulane, Mafucula and Shewula in Manzini, on December 4 where she allegedly got first-hand information on what was termed ‘on-going evictions and harassment of the farmers by, RSSC and the Swaziland Sugar Association’. At this meeting, the COSATU president was said to have promised the farmers that her organisation would meet with the TUCOSWA to look at how the farmers could be helped.
Meanwhile, Dr Absalom Themba Dlamini, Managing Director of Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, the company that owns RSSC, issued a media statement on Monday noting concerns on allegations “circulating on social media and other forums on its alleged role in disputes with Vuvulane farmers.”
Dr Dlamini clarified that “no persons have ever been unlawfully evicted from land in respect of which they were in lawful occupation. The solution to these difficulties is for the Vuvulane farmers to respect the Rule of Law and pay for water and services.”
Owing to this, one Mpisi Dlamini, a leading member of the Vuvulane Farmers Association, had told Losi how he and hundreds of other farmers were given land in Vuvulane in 1963 by the Colonial (now Commonwealth) Deve-lopment Corporation (CDC).
On this land, they had produced sugar cane which was milled by the Mhlume Sugar Mill until 1981 when CDC resolved to transfer the land ownership to them.
CDC approached (King Mswati III's father) King Sobhuza II to hand over the title deeds to the farmers, but unfortunately, the king passed away before the process was finalised.
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