Changes to South Africa's Diamond Board

August 25, 2000

Changes to South Africa's Diamond Board

After recent disputes with De Beers, South Africa's Diamond Board is set for major changes. Within hours of resolving the latest disagreement with De Beers, Diamond Board Chairman Gibson Thula asked Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to relieve him of his duties due to his other responsibilities, Business Day reports.

Earlier this year, the Minerals and Energy Department said in a budget speech it was considering transferring certain functions of the Diamond Board to other departments. According to Business Day, today the department said "the current composition of the SA Diamond Board continues to be problematic and is evidenced by the poor corporate governance adopted by the previous government, which must come to an end."

Plans are to speed the restructuring of the Diamond Board due to changes in the diamond industry. Business Day reports Mlambo-Ngcuka hopes current problems will be solved with the introduction of the new Mineral Development Bill, which will be released soon. Parts of the bill will focus on the diamond trade and will repeal the current Diamonds Act, which has come under fire recently from De Beers.

- by Julia M. Duncan