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Trustees sold us out – ex-miners

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“There are no brokers and no diamond registration document. The next thing we were told is that there is R1.6 million in the coffers of the trust”

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BENEFICIARIES of the De Beers 2005/2006 Retrenchees Trust marched to Colville Tailing Mineral Resource Operation (TMR) to raise their concerns regarding what they referred to as “continued contractual breaches around the daily running of the plant”.

The beneficiaries were presented with the plant by De Beers Consolidated Mines in 2005 after they were retrenched.

They then entered a joint venture with the owner of Emanuel Diamonds, Patrick Mason.

The group on Friday accused the trustees, who they appointed in 2013, of not being transparent in terms of the mining operations, including the finances with the investor.

They further accuse the management of ignoring the MPRD (Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill) permit, which, they state, specifies the authorised extraction and conveyance of minerals area as Kimberley and not Holpan.

The group accused the trustees, who have been serving since 2013, of selling them out and refusing to call an AGM.

A spokesperson for the beneficiaries, Lesley Mothome, said the trustees were withholding information from the beneficiaries.

He said the plant was commissioned in April 27, 2019 and went into full operation in May.

“There are no brokers and no diamond registration document. The next thing we were told is that there is R1.6 million in the coffers of the trust,” Mothome stated.

According to the beneficiaries, a case was opened with the Hawks to investigate the matter and a written complaint has been submitted to the Department of Minerals and Energy.

The disgruntled retrenchees further threatened to interdict the plant’s entire operations after Mason failed to arrive on Friday to accept their memorandum.

They accuse the plant management of employing non-beneficiaries from outside the city instead of employing the expertise of the beneficiaries.

The group further demand the termination of all the unauthorised workers before the year-end closure of the plant set for December 13.

“The beneficiaries go hungry and are sitting at home with the skills that they sourced from De Beers while the same skills are sourced from other towns.

“In order to secure our diamonds, we demand to have representation in the field of security, extractions, sorting, reserver, conveyance and evaluations.”

The contractor, Patrick Mason, said yesterday that he had been attempting unsuccessfully to intervene in the battle between the trustees and beneficiaries, which, he added, often seemed personal.

“I am not allowed to meet with the about 1 800 beneficiaries. That is why they were advised to appoint a committee of 12 trustees,” Mason said.

He added that a small group is disgruntled and continues to approach him to meet with them in private.

According to Mason the beneficiaries received a monthly commission that was invested into their account.

Regarding the transporting and conveyancing of the diamonds, he said that it was important to keep the destinations a secret for security purposes.

“As long as De Beers knows how and to where I transport the diamonds, it is fine. I would be killed if these details were common knowledge.”

Regarding the employment processes, Mason said that he had tried to maintain a balance by employing equal percentages of the retrenchees and the local Colville community.

He blamed the beneficiaries for not speaking up during their meetings when they have the platform to do so.