Tongaat Hulett

Tongaat Hulett is an agriculture and agri-processing business, focusing on the complementary feedstocks of sugarcane and maize. The company had its origins on the North coast of KwaZulu-Natal, specifically the town of Tongaat. The company was formed as a result of a merger between the Tongaat Sugar Company founded by Edward Saunders and Hulett's Sugar founded in 1892 by Liege Hulett. Company stock is listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. Its core businesses are sugar, starch and property management.

Tongaat Hulett Ltd.
Key people
Liege Hulett, founder
JG Hudson, CEO
RevenueR14,373 Billion (FY 2013)[1]
R2,145 Billion (FY 2013)[1]
Number of employees
31, 230 [2]


South Africa

  • The company head office is located at Amanzimnyama, Tongaat near Durban.
  • Sugar mills are located at Maidstone, Darnall, Amatikulu and Felixton.
  • A central refinery is in Durban
  • Animal feeds operation (Voermol Feeds)



  • Tambankulu Estates, Mhlume – The company operates two agricultural estates on the Mbuluzi River.


Tongaat Hulett's had three sugar estates in Zimbabwe in Chiredzi District and they bordered one another.

  • Triangle Estate in Triangle, Zimbabwe
  • Hippo Valley Estates, listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
  • Mkwasine Estates is now occupied by newly resettled farmers Chiredzi District

Animal feeds

Voermol Feeds, based in Maidstone, produces molasses-based animal feeds.

Artificial sweeteners

Cape Sweeteners, based in Durban, is a subsidiary of Tongaat Hulett Sugar, producing artificial sweeteners including; aspartame, neotame, acesulfame-K, fructose, sodium saccharin, sodium cyclamate, polydextrose, maltitol and lactitol. It is the exclusive South African agent of Nutrasweet's aspartame and neotame


Tongaat Hulett Starch, previously African Products is Africa's largest producer of starch and glucose, produced at five South African factories.

Land development

Tongaat Hulett Developments is a land conversion and development company that carries out land conversion activities by collaborating closely with the public sector, communities and other businesses.

Corruption scandal

At the end of 2018 the CEO, Peter Staude took early retirement[3] and the chief financial officer, Murray Munro, went on sick-leave.[4] In January 2019 a new CEO was appointed. In February 2019 the company announced a drop in expected profits[5] as well as a liquidity crisis.[6]

In May 2019 the company announced that its published financial results could not be relied on and that the company's equity (the value of the business after liabilities) in its 2018 financial results has been overstated by between R3.5 billion to R4.5 billion[7] in addition revised financial reports would be published in October 2019.[8] The Zimbabwean operation of Tongaat-Hulett has also not been able to provide reliable financial reports in 2019 on time.[9] The auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers were employed to do a forensic audit.[7] The diligence of the company's regular auditors, Deloitte has been called into question.[10] The company suspended trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.[11] In late June 2019 the company laid a criminal charge against an unnamed executive.[12][8] In an effort to survive the company is cutting costs and has sent retrenchment letters to 5000 employees.[7][13] In August 2019 the company decided to remove itself from the list of traded companies on the London Stock Exchange.[14]

In February 2022 seven people connected with the scandal namely, Peter Staude, Murray Hector Munro, Michael Edward Deighton, Rory Edward Wilkinson, Kamasagrie Singh, Samantha Shukla and Gavin Dykes Kruger appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court and were granted bail.[15] The appeared in court again in April 2022.[16]


  1. Tongaat Hulett:Audited results for the year ended 31 March 2013, May 2013, Retrieved: 23 May 2013.
  2. Tongaat Hulett:Employees as of 31 March 2013, March 2013, Retrieved: 31 March 2013.
  3. Hedley, Nick (6 August 2018). "Tongaat Hulett CEO Peter Staude to go sooner than expected". Business Day.
  4. Mchunu, Sandile (12 February 2019). "Tongaat Hulett hopeful new CFO can bring sweetness back to group". Business Report. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  5. Gernetzk, Karl (26 February 2019). "Tongaat Hulett falls 20% to 25-year low". Business Day.
  6. Ginindza, Banele (25 April 2019). "Tongaat Hulett renews its cautionary notice". Business Report. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  7. "Tongaat Hulett's listing has been suspended - here's what we know about the crisis at the sugar giant". 10 June 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  8. Harper, Paddy (19 July 2019). "Sugar barons' greed costs workers". The M&G Online. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  9. Mataranyika, Memory (2 August 2019). "Tongaat Hulett's Zim unit misses extended deadline to release financials". Fin24. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  10. de Villiers, James (4 June 2019). "Tongaat Hulett scandal: Deloitte replaces senior auditors and launches an internal investigation". Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  11. Dlamini, Sizwe (10 June 2019). "JSE suspends Tongaat Hulett listing". Business Report. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  12. Prinsloo, Loni (27 June 2019). "Criminal case opened against former Tongaat Hulett executive". Business Day.
  13. Fourie, Penny (22 May 2019). "Thousands to lose their jobs at Tongaat Hulett". North Coast Courier. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  14. Heiberg, Tanisha (2 August 2019). "Tongaat Hulett to delist from LSE". Moneyweb. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  15. Mashego, Penelope; Singh, Kaveel (10 February 2022). "Former Tongaat Hulett CEO and other ex-directors granted bail in R1.5bn fraud case". Fin24. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  16. Marriah-Maharaj, Jolene (11 April 2022). "Tongaat Huletts senior executives charged over R3.5 billion fraud may face additional charges". Retrieved 26 April 2022.
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