Mhlume Factory
Mhlume Factory

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Company History

 

The formation of the Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation Ltd (RSSC) was taken in 1973 when Tibiyo TakaNgwane, working in close co-operation with the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), carried out a pre-investment study for the expansion of sugar production.

The results of the pre-investment appraisal prompted a final planning and development study for a completely new project - the third mill. This was entrusted to Tate and Lyle Technical Services Limited (TLTS) and completed in June 1975.

At the same time the Swazi Government and Tibiyo takaNgwane entered into a wider partnership with the Tate and Lyle Group to bring the project into being.

On 7th October 1978 His Majesty King Sobhuza 11, OBE, Ngwenyama of Swaziland, dedicated the Swazi Third Sugar Mill "Simunye Sugar Estate - We are one". So culminated five years of intensive planning and negotiation to effect another major increase in sugar production in Swaziland.

 By the 1st May, 1979, The Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation Limited, sole proprietors of Simunye Sugar Estate (SSE), was created by seven partners signing a Joint Venture Agreement with the Swaziland Government and Tibiyo takaNgwane in December 1977, to subscribe E40.l million of equity share capital. This was subscribed by October, 1978.

Loan capital amounting to approximately E64 million was made available by the Swaziland Government, Tibiyo takaNgwane, CDC, DEG, IFC and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Simunye Sugar Estate was developed by the Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) in the late 1970’s. 10 000 hectares of light tree cover and bush were cleared to provide over 9 000 hectares of irrigated sugar cane together with roads, water storage, canal systems, offices, stores and maintenance workshops.

In 1980 the Simunye Sugar mill was commissioned capable of producing 120,000 tonnes sugar per annum initially. It was subsequently expanded in 2000 to accommodate cane purchased from new independent cane farmer schemes.

 Mhlume Sugar Estate

 In 1955, following cane trials undertaken by the Commonwealth Develoipment Corporation (CDC) that indicated that cane growing was a viable proposition if augmented by irrigation, Mhlume (Swaziland) Sugar Company Limited was registered as a sugar factory and cane estate. This was a joint venture project between Sir J.L Hulett & Sons and the then Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC).

In 1957, the Komati River Barage, with its 88km gravity canal, was commissioned to provide the required irrigation. Known as Mhlume Water, this system was managed by Inyoni ami Swaziland Irrigation Scheme (IYSIS). 

The Mhlume Sugar Estate was incorporated in June 1958, and the Mill was commissioned in 1960, with a production capacity of 90 tonnes cane per hour.(tchr).

In 1966, CDC bought out the Hulett shareholding and acquired sole ownership. This changed in 1977 when, on March 30th the Ingwenyama acquired, in trust of the Swazi nation, 50 percent of the company’s issued share capital. This was one of Mhlume’s most historic milestones.

Another milestone was the take-over of IYSIS sugar cane growing operations in 1994, involving 3 800 hectares. This saw Mhlume become Swaziland’s second largest grower of sugar cane on a land area of over 9000 hectares.

RSSC today

 

In 2001, the RSSC shareholders agreed to a merger with the neighbouring Mhlume Sugar Company and the new enlarged RSSC was launched in 2002. Listed on the Swaziland Stock Exchange, RSSC is the largest company in Swaziland employing over 3 500 permanent staff and producing two thirds of the country’s sugar.

It owns and manages over 15,607 hectares of irrigated sugar cane on estate land leased from the Swazi Nation and manages a further 5 018 hectares on behalf of third parties, delivering some 2.3 million tonnes of cane per season to RSSC’s two sugar mills. RSSC also operates a sugar refinery at the Mhlume mill which produces approximately 170 000 tonnes of refined sugar per season, and a 32 million litre capacity ethanol plant which is situated adjacent to the Simunye Mill.

Sugar Packaging

 

In 2005 Mananga Sugar Packers, a joint venture between RSSC and Tsb Sugar, was established at Mhlume mill to pack and sell sugar within the region. Ethanol In 1995 RSSC completed construction of a distillery adjacent to Simunye mill to process and produce industrial grade ethanol and potable spirit from all the molasses produced by Simunye.

In early 2007 a major expansion project was commissioned to utilize all the molasses from both Mhlume and Simunye. It now produces over 32 million litres per year; most is exported, primarily to the EU and the West African market.