Following our trip to see “good works” this morning, my group and I visited the South African headquarters of De Beers.
First off, I should note that I asked several people about the article in Polished Prices last week that said Jonathan Oppenheimer was “leaving South Africa.” All said the story was not true. So that’s duly noted.
Secondly, I had an interview with Oppenheimer’s successor, David Noko, the head of De Beers Consolidated Mines. Here are some highlights:
On De Beers’ relations with the South African government: It’s a journey. The governent is going through a transition …. The government and the citizens expect change. They are becoming impatient. They expect us to move much faster than we are moving now. Things can always improve but I can honestly say that our relationship with the government is good.
On South African beneficiation: If the government is serious about creating jobs, then we all support the government’s call for more beneficiation … [The growth in South Africa’s cutting industry] will be significant. Will it overtake India? I am not sure. There are constraints, because of infastructure, skills, cost of labor …
On being the first black African to head a De Beers division: I don’t feel the difference. I feel the treatment is exactly the same … This is how the country should have looked like years ago. You are starting to see a country where people are judged on their abilities regardless of gender or color.
More blogging when I’m inspired (and have access to a computer.) And now, from Africa, signing off …