Launch of International Diamond and Jewellery Academy

ADDRESS BY THE PREMIER OF THE NORTHERN CAPE, MRS HAZEL JENKINS, AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE KIMBERLEY INTERNATIONAL DIAMOND AND JEWELLERY ACADEMY ON 04 NOVEMBER 2011.

DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY – MRS THANDI TOBIAS-POKOLO

THE AMBASSADOR OF ZIMBABWE – HE, MR PHELEKEZELA MPHOKO

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER OF NAMIBIA – HE, MR MARTEN N KAPEWASHA

THE EMBASSY OF BELGIUM REPRESENTED BY THE ECONOMIC COUNSELLOR – MR TIM VAN ANDERLECHT

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER OF INDIA REPRESENTED BY THE FIRST SECRETARY – MR MOHIT YADAV

THE EMBASSY OF ANGOLA REPRESENTED BY THE 3RD SECRETARY MRS ANDREZA DE OLIVEIRA PAULINO

LESOTHO HIGH COMMISSION – MR TUMISANG MOKAI, CONSUL GENERAL

(REPRESENTING THE HIGH COMMISSIONER)

EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA, MS RHADIA MSUYA, HIGH COMMISSIONER-

TANZANIA

MEMBERS OF PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE

MEMBERS OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

THE DISTRICT MAYOR OF FRANCES BAARD MUNICIPALITY – MRS K MOLOI

THE MAYOR OF SOL PLAATJE MUNICIPALITY – MRS AGNES NTLHANGULA

THE DISTRICT MAYOR OF SIYANDA MUNICIPALITY – REVEREND GIFT VAN STADEN

THE MAYOR OF RICHTERVELD MUNICIPALITY – MR A JANSEN

THE DEPUTY CHAIR OF DE BEERS CONSOLIDATED MINES – MR MANNE DIPICO

THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF DE BEERS TRADING COMPANING (DTC) – MR FARIED SALIE

THE PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD FEDERATION OF DIAMOND BOURSERS – MR ERNEST BLOM

REPRESENTATIVES OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION: MS MILLY CHESIRE, MR R RODRIGUEZ AND MR R YOUNG

STUDENTS OF THE ACADEMY

TOURISM AMBASSADOR: ZANELE BATYASHE

TOURISM AMBASSADOR: GLORIA PETERSEN

TOURISM AMBASSADOR: THEBE IKALAFENG(LAUNCH)

ACCLAIMED ENTREPRENEUR AND ACTRESS, MS SOPHIA NDABA

MUSICIAN TEBOGO THEKISHO aka “PROVERB”

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

On behalf of the Northern Cape Provincial Government and in my capacity as Premier of the Northern Cape, I take great pleasure in welcoming you to the launch of the Kimberley International Diamond & Jewellery Academy which is a partnership between the Northern Cape Provincial Government and the Diamond Trading Company(De Beers Consolidated Diamond Mines) of South Africa.

This is an exciting launch indeed for the Northern Cape Province and for Kimberley: the building you are standing in, and the students you see here today, represent the culmination of years of planning and strategising, to realize the diamond beneficiation capacity in South Africa and the SADC region.

The Province’s desire to create a Centre of Excellence as a diamond processing Service Centre in South Africa and globally emanates from Kimberley’s strong diamond heritage which has not necessarily translated into an equitable share of value associated with the industry that ought to benefit the Northern Cape, and in particular the people of Kimberley.

Ladies and Gentlemen the capital of the Northern Cape Province has often been referred to as the Diamond Capital of the World. The 1873 settlement known as the “New Rush” rapidly exceeded 50 000 people and was renamed Kimberley, home to the Kimberley Mine which later came to be known as the “Big Hole”. This operation yielded more than 14, 5 million carats while in operation and spawned the creation of De Beers Consolidated Mines (Pty) Ltd and the birth of an entire modern global diamond industry.

Diamonds have been extracted from the city for more than 140 years, placing Kimberley at the forefront of most developments in the country. However, since the discovery of this precious stone, the city and Province have had little to show for these gems, and these have rather benefited other centres around the country and the world. This is despite the city having hosted the first stock exchange, the embryonic stage of the University of Witwatersrand and streetlights to mention only a few firsts for Kimberley. The economic wealth of the city has significantly contributed to the development of the modern South African and International economy.

Despite Kimberley being renowned for its diamond mining, very little in terms of medium and large scale diamond beneficiation and jewellery manufacturing has been undertaken in Kimberley. The rough diamonds are sold in Johannesburg and/or are exported directly to New York, London, Belgium and India

The Northern Cape province accounts for 33% of rough diamond production and over 95% of the South African diamond production passes through Kimberley. However, the Northern Cape is mainly primary sector dependant and is faced with serious socio-economic issues. It has therefore been the Provincial Governments’ intention to stimulate manufacturing and secondary value addition from the diamond pipeline to position the Province to fulfil its socio-economic responsibilities by, amongst other goals, achieving human capital development, industry and infrastructure development, employment creation as well as entrepreneurial opportunities.

The Northern Cape Diamond Strategy is a mineral beneficiation strategy aimed at doing just that - diversifying the Northern Cape Provincial economy from a primary sector focus towards secondary value addition activities that will maximise benefit.

This process was initiated by the 2004 ANC Manifesto focusing on manufacturing and value addition of our mineral resources, which led to the process being given a renewed impetus. At the Antwerp Diamond Conference in 2004, the ANC Government announced the intent of South Africa and all other African diamond producers to start value addition to their minerals in order to save the jobs that were continuously being lost as a result of exploration of raw minerals.

It was determined then that the Sparkle must return to Kimberley, and this set the tone for what you see here today.

The South African diamond legislation was also reviewed so as to ensure:

o Equitable access to rough diamonds;
o Local beneficiation;
o BEE participation; and
o Job creation.

Ladies and Gentlement a Diamond Strategy was pursued, to establish Kimberley within the SADC and international industry as a Centre of Excellence in terms of:


a. Diamond Cutting and Polishing
b. Jewellery Manufacturing; and
c. Services

Therefore it was conceived that the Centre of Excellence would provide a synergistic platform for collaboration between the diamond and jewellery industry, associations and the public sector to undertake initiatives to make Southern Africa a more competitive place for the mining, processing and retailing of diamonds and jewellery.

The purpose of KIDJA is also to create a ripple effect in the national and provincial economy that will achieve economic diversification, growth, employment, skills creation, and provide entrepreneurial opportunities and GDP contribution by unlocking investment.

Six Priority Elements that form the pillars of the Diamond Strategy are:


* The Kimberley International Diamond and Jewellery Academy (including a skills Incubation Centre, Research and Development facility and Conference and Exhibition Centre)
* The Kimberley Diamond and Jewellery Hub
* Diamond Cutting and Polishing
* Jewellery Manufacturing
* Branding Kimberley Diamonds and Jewellery; and
* Tourism

In 2006, De Beers committed itself to support the establishment of an Academy, and assigned the Diamond Trading Company to assist in the development of this beneficiation-related project. KIDJA’s business plan was reviewed and funded in partnership with DTC De Beers and this was captured in a Memorandum of Agreement.

Some detail about these 6 elements:

* The Kimberley International Diamond and Jewellery Academy was established to address the skills, technology and advance research shortfalls of the SADC diamond region, and to be a world leader in diamond beneficiation.
* The Kimberley Diamond and Jewellery Hub – is to develop an internationally competitive, serviced, secure and incentivised hub. Industry, service providers and the relevant statutory bodies alike will be offered a secure, conducive business environment that will offer them access to incentives and infrastructure.
* Branding Kimberley Diamonds and Jewellery: is to establish a unique brand for all diamonds beneficiated and jewellery manufactured in Kimberley. This will act as an incentive for local beneficiators since products with a proven brand have a higher market value.

* Jewellery Manufacturing. This will enable the Province to accommodate more of the diamond pipeline and to tap into our semi-precious stone reserves that can be beneficiated by means of jewellery manufacturing. It will also serve as a contingency plan for students who wish to specialize in jewellery manufacturing.

Diamond Cutting and Polishing – The aim is to have companies established in Kimberley beneficiating diamonds and rendering services to diamond beneficiation companies, thus providing the anchor for a thriving diamond industry.

We have 3 cutting and polishing factories operating in the Academy. Agreements have been signed with them that includes their social responsibility towards the students – this includes a commitment to providing an (employment) incubator for students as part of our employment Exit Strategy for students; and to use the Academy for the upskilling of their staff.

* Diamond and Jewellery Tourism - To complement existing tourism initiatives and establish unique diamond tourism related initiatives that can be combined with these.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the larger context within which KIDJA exists. It is the first step in the realisation of the Northern Cape Diamond Strategy, and it is here!

We are also thrilled at the progress of our first intake of 50 students, who will graduate at the beginning of 2012. Three of the students are from Namibia and 4 are from Zimbabwe. We are also in discussion with Angola and the DRC for plans to send students here, to benefit from the world-class training we are able to offer.

In addition, Ladies and Gentlemen KIDJA is focussing the design and delivery of its training towards four key target groups:

* Entry Level Target Groups: New entrants are offered a broad, multi-faceted approach to careers in the diamond and jewellery sector, from a basic orientation to the industry, through to recognised qualifications for entry-level workers.
* Current Workers: Current workers employed in the diamond sector will be offered accredited courses to ensure that they have skills they can use in the broader industry, and also to enable them to respond to new market demands and technologies.
* SMME owner-managers: around 10% of the Academy's students will be running their own businesses. The Academy will provide courses that respond to the specific demands of the emerging SMME sector. This will include those specifically in the diamond and jewellery manufacturing sector.
* Diamond cutting and polishing trainers: Due to the shortage of appropriately qualified and experienced trainers in South Africa's diamond cutting and polishing sector, the Academy will design and deliver specialised courses that will train trainers in this field.

To meet these aims, the Academy has set itself the following objectives.

* To respond to skills demands and development opportunities within the diamond and jewellery sector in a rapid and strategic manner and engage proactively with the sector to anticipate skills needs.
* To provide a mechanism for employers within the diamond and jewellery sector to formulate skills-development strategies that will lead to higher levels of competitiveness within national, regional and international markets.
* To provide accredited courses that are recognized by the South African government (national and provincial) and sought after by industry, with potential international accreditation.
* To promote the empowerment of previously disadvantaged workers in the industry, including new entrants to the industry, through skills development programmes.
* To become an integral part of the Diamond Centre of Excellence through the promotion and development of skills as a critical component to competitiveness.
* To operate in a professional and business-like manner; and
* To become financially and technically self-sustaining within five years.

Of course, so much of what we have been able to do is because of Partnerships, which we value tremendously!

KIDJA is a partnership between the Northern Cape Provincial Government and the Diamond Trading Company of South Africa. We have been able to operate because of funding received from our generous funders:

De Beers has committed R7m of which R5m has been released to date, with a further R2 million committed for bursaries for KIDJA students.

The European Union has made available an investment of R18 million over a 3-year period through its Employment Creation Fund.

The Mining Qualifications Authority – KIDJA has developed an extensive course in conjunction with industry experts and the MQA. All accreditation for the Academy will be done through the MQA and the Council for Higher Learning. The QMS (Quality Mining Systems) will be ISO (International Standards Organisation) compliant.

Ladies and Gentlemen the funds invested by the Province and our Funders have enabled us to:

* Develop a comprehensive curriculum for all the courses that KIDJA currently offers and will offer in the near future.
* Furniture and state-of-the-art diamond cutting and polishing equipment procure. High- tech surveillance equipment and IT and communication equipment has also been installed.
* Engage in extensive renovations to the existing infrastructure that will house KIDJA;
* Apply for ISO 9001:2008 and MQA accreditation.
* Accommodation for out-of-town students was secured at a local school hostel. The school availed the junior wing of their hostel for KIDJA students. The Hostel was adjusted according to the needs of the students.

In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, Honoured guests and Students -- KIDJA is a fine example of a profound vision realised. Of this governments’ vision of bringing diamond and mineral beneficiation to African soil – a shared vision with the SADC countries for creating skills and jobs within the diamond and related industries; and of the support, commitment and financial backing of partners and funders. This Academy, located within this Centre of Excellence, will deliver 150 highly-skilled new graduates and (upskilled industry workers) to the growing SADC diamond region every year. From this base, we are changing the face of the diamond industry. From this base we are putting the Sparkle back into Kimberley.”


I THANK YOU

Mail Us

Office of the Premier 
Private Bag X5016 
Kimberley 
8301

Leave a Comment