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Belgian king gives thumbs up to launch of Pluczenik South Africa

Nungu Diamonds founder and MD of Pluczenik South Africa Kealeboga Pule greets King Phillpe of Belgium during the launch of the factory. / Zuzi Seoka

Kealeboga Pule, the founder of Nungu Diamonds and MD of Pluczenik South Africa, has launched his second biggest diamond factory.

Speaking to Sunday World on Friday, Pule, 35, said the cutting and polishing of diamonds will take place at the OR Tambo Airport in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg, where the country’s imports and exports operate at their best.

Pule, who grew up in Mahikeng, North West, said: “I am not from a privilege family but [I was raised] by a hardworking family.

He studied law and, as a graduate, he was encouraged by his mentor to venture into the diamond industry in 2018.

“At the time, I knew nothing about diamonds, but I took a bus from Mahikeng knowing very well that I would not be paid, as I agreed to shadow [someone] and learn. I had no idea that I would end up here 10 years later.”

The launch of Pluczenik South Africa on Friday was attended by Belgian King Phillipe and his entourage who visited the country last week.

The king also embarked on a walkabout of the OR Tambo International SEZ (special economic zone) Jewellery Manufacturing Precinct.

The Belgian king’s visit to the country served as confirmation of his country’s readiness to strengthen economic and political relations with South Africa.

Pule shared that his plan is to work with the youth who have a passion for the diamond industry.

“At the moment, I mentor five young people and it’s my plea for young women to grab this opportunity and join the diamond industry,” Pule said.

“My passion is youth and job creation. I currently employ 30 people with the hope to employ more people. The diamonds are just a vehicle [we] use to create jobs.”

Tasneem Motara, Gauteng MEC for economic development, also attended the launch and said the provincial government is proud to announce that Pluczenik, a 75-year-old beneficiating company, has set up in Gauteng.

“They have linked and partnered with a South African diamond beneficiary company and they will be a tenant here,” Motara said.

“We are looking at creating jobs and creating skills, as well as looking at extracting value in the entire value chain of the diamond industry.”

Also in attendance were small business owners who ply their trade in the diamond industry. A small business mentored by a government entity, State Diamond Trader, sold a few diamonds at the launch.

The business, known as House of Phoenix, was founded by Lehlohonolo Magaba, who said: “I was fortunate enough to be part of those who exhibit their work today. It was a great opportunity and I managed to network and make sales.

“The event has been good for business.”

Thandiwe Ngqobe, CEO at OR Tambo special economic zone, said: “We have Pluczenik as an established investor, and these are the partners that will help us tackle job creation.

“The joint relationship with Pluczenik excites us and creates an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to grow.”

Pule gave a hint of his six-month plan.

“I am leaving for Israel this week to attend a diamond congress. And [I will be leaving] for Las Vegas to attend a trade fair in June and [I will be in] Hong Kong in September,” said Pule.

“Part of the reason why I am interacting with these international platforms is so that the world can start hearing from South Africa, we are the city of gold, and they need to hear our perspective. These diamonds essentially belong to us.

“The world needs to know that we are open for investment.”