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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has enquired of the State Diamond Trader (SDT) on who its biggest buyers are since 2012 and to avail, said DA shadow Minister of Mineral Resources James Lorimer.

The SDT, whose main business is to buy and sell rough diamonds in order to promote equitable access to and beneficiation of diamond resources, has refused to answer a DA question for almost two years, said the DA’s Lorimer in a statement last week.

Formal request

The DA and Lorimer formerly asked the SDT CEO Futhi Zikalala on 24 October 2012 who the biggest buyers of diamonds from the SDT were, including company names and volumes.

Lorimer said that Zikalala undertook to send the information following the request.

“A reply in writing was subsequently received, but ignored the request to provide names of companies,” stated Lorimer.

Portfolio Committee meeting

When the SDT appeared before the portfolio committee again on October 22, the DA reiterated its request.

The State Diamond Trader (SDT) has refused to answer a DA question for almost two years, said Lorimer.

“This was not forthcoming and ANC members on the committee declared they believed the SDT should be given another chance to address the issue,” Lorimer said, adding that he, along with his colleague Hendrik Schmidt had then left the meeting this October as it believed the SDT’s refusal to disclose its activities was in effect misleading Parliament.

No credibility

“The SDT’s failure to say who their biggest clients are, raises questions about what they are trying to hide. On the basis that they are not making full disclosure, we believe their account to Parliament has no credibility,” said Lorimer.

“We believe parliament has only itself to blame for the decline in its authority that will be caused by allowing state entities to defy accountability.”

State-owned

The State Diamond Trader is a state owned entity established in terms of Section 14 of the Diamonds Amendment Act, 29 of 2005.

The State Diamond Trader sells to approved customers through the State Diamond Trader’s application and approval process. The entity is eligible by law and proclamation to purchase up to 10% of the run of mine from all diamond producers in South Africa.

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