Gavin Craythorne, a marine diamond diver operating along the north-west coast of South Africa from Alexander Bay to Port Nolloth, testified at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture and lifted the lid on a can of worms, letting the dirty dealings come to light of yet another State-owned Enterprise.
Evidence leader Carol Sibiya said Craythorne had approached Zondo with allegations of state capture and corruption within Alexkor, the state-owned diamond mine. Sibiya thanked him and said that it took a brave person to do what he did.
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All marine diamond mining related to Alexkor is carried out under contract with the Pooling and Sharing Joint Venture (PSJV), which is 49% owned by the Richtersveld Community and 51% by Alexkor. The PSJV was formed under the Alexander Deed of Settlement after a successful claim by the Richtersveld Community in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act. Alexkor owns the marine rights, and the Richtersveld Community owns the land rights.
Marine diamond divers extract diamond-bearing gravel from the shallow seabed. The area to be mined by a diver is registered, they can only dive in very specific calm weather conditions, and 50 tons of gravel might only produce a few grams of rough diamonds. The gravel mined is handed over to the PSJV at the Alexander Bay Harbour.
MoneyWeb told the Zondo Commission that Scarlett Sky Investments (SSI) had a major hold on Alexcor and that diamons were “valued” incorrectly and kept in a vault on SSI premises, leaving Alexcor out in the cold.
As rough diamonds are sold according to strict rules at auctions, Craythorne brought various highly unethical processes to the light. When he asked questions about the business dealings, SSI cancelled his diving contract and blocked his access to the mine.
SSI had no track record, but a Gupta so-called “lieutenant” held the reigns. What can only be termed as another “state capture deal”, many well-known individuals had their hands in the illegal pie, which allowed SSI to trade despite not even owning a license. And once again, the notorious Malusi Gibaba was in the mix as well. Craythorne named Malusi Gigaba, Mosebenzi Zwane, Rafique Bagus, Mervyn Carstens, Kuben Moodley, Percy Khoza, Zarina Kellerman, Hantsi Matseke, Daniel Nathan, Selwyn Nathan, Marc Chipkin and Salim Essa. He was subjected to various legal suits to silence him, but continues to make his voice heard as the truth finally comes out. Unfortunately, it is too late for Alexcor and its honest employees.