|Five Historically Disadvantaged South African-owned diamond cutting and polishing companies have been selected to participate in a special project, launched in partnership between De Beers, the South African government and the South African diamond cutting industry.
The ‘Enterprise Development Project for Diamond Beneficiators' aims to "facilitate the transformation and growth of the diamond cutting and polishing sector in South Africa." The mentoring program will give the selected Black South African-owned diamond cutting businesses the opportunity to improve their industry and business knowledge and to gain experience in rough diamond purchasing, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of finished product into the polished diamond market.
Speaking at the official launch of the project, De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) Chairman Barend Petersen stated: "De Beers is fully committed to facilitating sustainable growth of the local diamond industry in South Africa." Petersen also noted that, "for beneficiation to succeed here there is a need to involve multiple stakeholders who will bring innovative thinking, skills and resources to ensure that South Africa remains a competitive player in the global diamond industry."
Senior Vice President of Kimberley-based De Beers Sightholder Sales South Africa, Mpumi Zikalala, stated that De Beers would be providing the participants in the program with access to a supply of suitable rough diamonds. Zikalala noted that on completion of the program the candidates would be eligible to apply to become Accredited Buyers of De Beers, with the longer-term goal being for them to ultimately be in a position to apply for De Beers Sightholder status.
"By being engaged in a technical, production and business efficiency mentoring programme with successful South African and international diamond industry leaders the group will strive to achieve what many aspire to," says Zikalala.
De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver closed by saying: "If, through this partnership, we can lay a successful platform for developing young beneficiators, then this project will go a long way towards creating a sustainable and meaningful diamond development pathway for other young local cutters and polishers for many years to come."
The Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) companies selected for the program are:
- Thoko Zwane and Zipho Dlamini, owners of Thoko's Diamonds
- Munirah Desai, owner of African Diamonds
- Kealeboga Pule, owner of Nungu Diamonds
- Musibudi Jo Mathole, owner of Kwame Diamonds
- Molefi Letsiki, owner of Molefi Letsiki Diamond Holdings