De Beers appoints its first black-owned sightholder in South Africa

5th December 2022 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

As part of diamond miner De Beers Group’s strategic objective of driving transformation in the local diamond sector, the group has appointed its first majority black-owned sightholder, Molefi Letsiki Diamonds (MLD), effective January 1 next year.

Molefi Letsiki is an alumnus of De Beers’ Enterprise Development Project for Diamond Beneficiators, which was launched in 2016 to facilitate the growth of diamond beneficiation in South Africa.

De Beers managed operations MD Moses Madondo says the company always envisioned having project members become sightholders, as it speaks to the hard work the company has been doing, together with government, to empower emerging cutting and polishing companies.

De Beers sells its rough diamonds through global sightholder sales and auctions, with the sightholders being among the world’s leading diamantaires.

Letseki is a second-generation diamantaire whose father worked as a diamond master cutter for more than three decades. Letseki established his diamond and custom-made jewellery manufacturing business in 2005 and has grown to deal diamonds globally and employ 15 people.

MLD is also a global distributor for diamond company Dali Diamond.

“The progression of moving from a small diamond business to achieving sightholder status has long been an aspiration for MLD,” says Letseki, thanking De Beers for its support through the Enterprise Development Programme and overall business support.

De Beers says MLD’s elevation to sightholder status is not only a significant milestone for De Beers, but for the overall South African diamond beneficiation sector.

In implementing sustainable beneficiation, De Beers is aligning its strategy to government’s imperatives of sustainable growth and employment in the downstream diamond industry in South Africa.

Beneficiation has been part of De Beers’ business model for many years, through the sale of rough diamonds to small and medium-sized cutters and polishers, while also facilitating specialised training. 

The company has also established a diamond beneficiation academy in Kimberley, in partnership with the Northern Cape government and the Shining Lights Awards competition, which has discovered young and talented jewellery designers and manufacturers, some of whom have established jewellery businesses in South Africa.

Through its Enterprise Development Project for Diamond Beneficiators, De Beers will continue to develop young beneficiators with the aim to appoint an increasing number of young black beneficiators as sightholders in the future.