Former president Thabo Mbeki has warned Zimbabwe's “predatory elite” to stop benefiting from the country's diamonds, Business Day reported on Tuesday.

“Diamond production must not be governed by a predatory elite which is in collusion with mining companies for its own benefit,” said Mbeki.

“As elections loom in Zimbabwe next year, the country must prove that it is not a rogue state.”

Mbeki was speaking at a Zimbabwe government conference on the diamond trade.

The Associated Press reported on Monday that at least US2 billion worth of diamonds had been stolen from Zimbabwe's eastern diamond fields and enriched President Robert Mugabe's ruling circle, gem dealers and criminals. - Sapa