Shabangu blows off blood diamond allegations
Mineral Resource Minister Susan Shabangu has blown off allegations made by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that Linda Makatini, chairperson of the State Diamond Trader, had imported Zimbabwean diamonds in breach of the Kimberly Protocol.
DA shadow mineral resources minister Hendrik Smit made the allegation during Wednesday's debate on Shabangu's budget vote speech in Parliament.
“On the issue of the Kimberly Protocol, the allegations you are making on the Kimberly Protocol, please do me a favour, read the Kimberly Protocol, understand the regulations and understand the role of the Kimberly Protocol chair. Zimbabwe are compliant. Acquaint yourself with that decision, read the role of the Kimberly Protocol chair,” Shabangu said in reply to Smit's allegation.
The Kimberley Process is an international agreement signed by governments from diamond producing countries to ensure that proceeds from the sale of illegal diamonds are not used to fuel conflicts.
Earlier, Smit said: “Allegations have recently surfaced that contraventions of the Kimberley process have occurred in SA. In flagrant disregard of the prohibition in the trade in diamonds from the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe in accordance with the Kimberly Protocol, it has been alleged that Linda Makatini, the chairperson of the State Diamond Trader, illegally imported a parcel of rough diamonds from the Marange diamond fields. These are surely very serious allegations and warrant an investigation by the relevant authorities as required by the Kimberley Protocol. The question is, honourable minister, what will you do about it?”
In July 2010, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme agreed that diamonds from the country's disputed Marange diamond fields could be sold on the international market after a report from the scheme's monitor a month earlier described diamonds mined from the fields as conflict-free.
“Acquaint yourself with the rules and not what is best for you,” Shabangu said. - I-Net Bridge