Hlekweni changes hands


FORMER director of Valindre Farm — popularly known as Hlekweni Friends Rural Service Centre — Phillip Bruce, yesterday officially handed over the farm to the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) after halting operations.


Zimta purchased Hlekweni after the previous owners stopped operations due to financial problems. The centre’s assets have been put up for auctioning to pay outstanding salaries and other debts. The farm, measuring 718 hectares, is located in the Matobo district.

Speaking at a press conference held at the farm yesterday, Bruce said it was commendable that Zimta had taken over the farm as they had a vision of making the institution a great success and meeting the vocational needs of Matabeleland.

“I am pleased to hand over the farm together with the institution to Zimta because of their will to make the institution a great success in the future and facilitate the provision of vocational needs of Matabeleland,” he said.

Zimta national treasurer Edgar Moyo said the association intended to scale up the business by producing more farm products and adding more courses to the ones Hlekweni previously offered.

“Zimta intends to scale up the business at the farm by producing more farm products and adding courses to the traditional ones. Some of the courses will be in labour education, peace conflict resolution and tourism,” Moyo said.

He said the institution would continue to upgrade school leavers with skills that are likely to improve the quality of life for individuals and the surrounding community.

Moyo said members of the association would have access to vacation school seminars or weekend school to acquire practical skills that would help them sustain a living. Zimta chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said the fate of Hlekweni’s ex-workers was not in the hands of Zimta as they were starting on a new project.

“Zimta has no workers at Hlekweni. We are starting on a new project and we cannot guarantee that we will recruit the ex-workers,” he said.