By Bahle Gama
Ubombo Sugar Limited has roped in a private investigator to look into the theft of sugar that is being transported to Mlawula Station and Maputo for exporting.
The company’s Head of Corporate Affairs Leonard Ndzimandze stated that this is one of the challenges the company is dealing with hence the decision to bring in the PI.
“The sugar that leaves is not the same volume when it arrives at Mlawula or Maputo for export. We ended up hiring a private investigator to unravel this criminal activity. It is an ongoing process,” he said.
He stated that the company is hoping that the PI will be able to resolve this matter soonest. Another challenge faced by the company is sharing land and irrigation equipment with illegal dagga farmers who have plants along the same land and riverbank same as the cane fields.
“People are planting dagga across the estate. On the riverbank you find hectares of land with these illegal plants,” he said.
These perpetrators not only use the company’s land but also take irrigation equipment and use it on their illegal plants.
“Instead of us irrigating our cane, we end up finding the equipment pulled and used on the dagga, and in the process, we end up losing business,” he said.
He further stated that it is an issue that the police are helping with adding that community members have been terrified to approach these perpetrators out of fear for their lives courtesy of the political unrest.
Everyone is scared that they might become victims and have since left everything to the police.
“The sad part about everything is when innocent people are being attacked in that some of the company’s truck drivers have been attacked and threatened, in the process instilling fear of travelling at night,” said Ndzimandze.
He stated that as a 24/7 operating company, their trucks deliver cane at night, and “unfortunately some of these have been stopped and attacked by people. They now started getting scared, this then affected our business because it means the volume that can be produced at night will be compromised.”
Ndzimandze stated that the challenges faced by the company have been detrimental to its income generation because more money has been forked out in replacing material and hiring security personnel.