Small-scale farmers who feed the Tongaat Hulett mills in KwaZulu-Felixton, Natal’s Amatikulu, and Maidstone have been compensated for sugar cane delivered in September.
The company, which was placed in business rescue on October 27th, missed an R401 million payment deadline for cane delivered by around 4 300 growers.
Concerns were raised by the organisation over Tongaat Hulett’s ability to “make timely payments of more than R345 million at the end of November for the more than 570 000 tonnes of cane delivered in October.”
“It is also vital that clarity is provided on preparations for the remainder of the season, as well as to try to ensure the future of Tongaat Hulett for the sake of the thousands of livelihoods depending on cane growing along KwaZulu-north Natal’s coast.”
The association is in talks with Tongaat’s business rescue practitioners to prioritise payments to commercial farmers, allowing payments to other enterprises such as contractors, haulier companies, and input suppliers.
Tongaat, the country’s largest sugar producer, has been embroiled in an accounting scandal, accused of inflating its financial situation by R12 billion between 2011 and 2018. On the JSE, its shares are currently suspended.