Monday, August 15, 2022

Zuma praises Kimberly Process for stabilising peace in Africa

With South Africa’s chairmanship of the Kimberly Process (KP) ending in December 2013, the southern Africa economic giant’s president, Jacob Zuma, showered praise on the process for stabilizing peace in Africa.

The Kimberley Process (KP) was established in 2003 by joint governments, mining industry and civil society to try and purge the flow of conflict diamonds or blood diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.

Although the process was scrutinised by organisations such as the Global Witness which later pulled off citing failure, Zuma said that KP has contributed immensely to creating democracy and transparency in Africa.

“International partners have worked tirelessly to significantly reduce the trade of illicit diamonds that funded campaigns to destabilize legitimate government in Africa,” Zuma said.

“To date, Africa is increasingly enjoying the benefit of democratic governments and transparent governance.”

Botswana, the world’s leading diamond producer by value, is also a member of the Kimberley Process.
Zuma made the remarks while officiating at the launch of the construction phase of the De Beers’ US$2 billion underground Venetia Diamond Mine in Limpopo Province last week.

He urged stakeholders who will be converging in his country for the second of the KP meetings next month to make sure that they leave an indelible legacy for the process and the diamond industry.

The South Africa president said the investment by Anglo American which owns De Beers in Venetia Diamond Mine is one of the largest in the country’s diamond industry at a whopping R20 billion. He said the investment would boost diamond production in the country.

“This project is also significant because it demonstrates confidence in South Africa as an investment destination of choice by both foreign and South African companies,” he said.

On other issues, Zuma condemned the isolated spurts of violence such as the killing of a National Union of Mine (NUM) workers’ leader in Rustenburg recently. He said that such incidents of violence have no place in a democratic country such as South Africa. He also lamented last year’s horrific Marikana tragedy calling for deepening of the longstanding work to improve the lives of mineworkers and surrounding communities.

“Accordingly, the implementation of Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, the Social and Labour Plan mechanisms and the Mining Charter remain immensely important to ensure the growth and stability. These imbalances are related to the failure of the colonial system to reinvest in the local human resource base and the regeneration of the local economy and protection of the environment. Our Legislation requires investors to commit to the mining charter, the social labour plan and sound environmental management,” Zuma added.

He further said that despite the diversification of the economy of South Africa in the recent past years, the mining sector remained the corner stone of the country’s economy due to the number of direct and indirect jobs, export earnings and other benefits.

“Our mineral rich country continues to host significant known reserves of mineral commodities, with almost 60 minerals being actively mined,” he said.

He said Limpopo province on its own is endowed with a variety of minerals, with an estimated 70 mines operating in the province. He added that the South African government is investing time and effort in strengthening the mining sector so that it can contribute to inclusive growth and jobs as envisaged in the country’s development plan.

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